Anarchism Criticism: Overviews And General Studies - Essay

Harold Barclay (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “On the Nature of Anarchy,” in People Without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchy, Kahn & Averill, 1990, pp. 15-33.

[In the following essay, Barclay enumerates the differences between anarchy and anarchism, and goes on to define each in theoretical and practical terms.]


Our first task must be to clarify the meaning of anarchy in relation to a variety of different terms. Let us begin by considering anarchy and anarchism. These must be distinguished from one another, just as one distinguishes ‘primitive communism’ from Marxian communism. The latter is an elaborate sociological system, a philosophy...

(The entire section is 8126 words.)

George Crowder (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Three Sources of Anarchism,” in Classical Anarchism: The Political Thought of Godwin, Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin, Clarendon Press, 1991, pp. 6-38.

[In the following essay, Crowder illuminates three major sources of anarchist thought: the concept of the moral and rational perfectibility of man, Jean-Jacques Rousseau's critique of civilization, and the optimism of Enlightenment science.]

The history of Western political thought contains many anti-authoritarian currents. The vision of a golden age without government is a favourite theme from Ovid to Rousseau, and those writers who have advocated release from the authority of Church and State are too...

(The entire section is 12616 words.)