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Bridging the Chasms: Contemporary Anarchists in the U.S.

Case, Benjamin / S (2015) Bridging the Chasms: Contemporary Anarchists in the U.S. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Studies of anarchists across disciplines have largely focused on famous personalities and major historical events or on contentious protest actions and violence. In a 21st century context in which anarchism has an ever more significant influence on social movements in the U.S. and around the globe, understanding how anarchists understand that label is increasingly important. This paper aims to contribute to an understanding of the meaning of anarchism through the words of anarchists themselves. In this study, I interview 22 anarchists from three U.S. cities about what anarchism means to them and about if and how they practice their ideology in their everyday lives. I find a high level of unity around several core values regardless of the interviewees’ backgrounds or affiliations. Beyond that base level of unity, we see extensive variation across the sectarian divisions asserted by dominant theoretical works, both findings suggesting that such dichotomous, antagonistic frameworks may be overly simplistic. In addition, I explore a rhetorical device that appears frequently in the interviews and connect it to a pervasive sense of marginality. This “marginality within marginality” may have several sources, including punk music and subculture, which I argue contribute to the perpetuation of a notion of unbridgeability between types of anarchists.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Case, Benjamin / Sbsc28@pitt.eduBSC28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBamyeh, Mohammedmab205@pitt.eduMAB205
Committee MemberMarkoff, Johnjm2@pitt.eduJM2
Committee MemberStaggenborg, Suzannesuzstagg@pitt.eduSUZSTAGG
Date: 31 May 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2015
Approval Date: 31 May 2015
Submission Date: 17 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 69
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: anarchism, social movements, cultural sociology, identity
Date Deposited: 31 May 2015 18:14
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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