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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging account of affinity-based thought and action
The main purpose of the book is to genealogically trace a division between hegemonic and affinity forms of social activity and organisation, particularly the latter - hence falsifying the claim that hegemony is a necessary part of (radical) politics by showing that logics of affinity also operate in some social movements and academic theories. The necessity filled by...
Published on 22 Aug 2007 by ldxar1

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3.0 out of 5 stars Gramsci ain't dead...
Bought this as I was interested in Gramsci but there is little about him.

Instead it's an interesting overview of the anarchist left at the moment. The movements of people who protest against the G8 summits or when a council try to evict travellers etc etc.

This is opposed to the "hegemonic" or controlling approach of Gramsci, the idea being these...
Published 9 months ago by XTR


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3.0 out of 5 stars Gramsci ain't dead..., 25 Feb 2014
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XTR (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements (Paperback)
Bought this as I was interested in Gramsci but there is little about him.

Instead it's an interesting overview of the anarchist left at the moment. The movements of people who protest against the G8 summits or when a council try to evict travellers etc etc.

This is opposed to the "hegemonic" or controlling approach of Gramsci, the idea being these movements are autonomous and basically united only by their anti- capitalism and anti-statism. The modern mainstream of society is viewed as an all-controlling monster, a caricature but sadly post-2001 and the war on terror there is more truth in the stereotype than I'd like.

The major downside to this book is how hard work it is - the language is like wading through treacle. Open almost any page and you find sentenced like "The movements that are most commonly cited as exemplars of their type tend to desire irradiation effects across an entire social space, usually delimited as a national territory, and the changes most often cited as their successes have involved modifications to juridical structures."

I made it to the end and feel I know more about a side of life I have no contact with in daily life, but I wouldn't read it again TBH
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wide-ranging account of affinity-based thought and action, 22 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements (Paperback)
The main purpose of the book is to genealogically trace a division between hegemonic and affinity forms of social activity and organisation, particularly the latter - hence falsifying the claim that hegemony is a necessary part of (radical) politics by showing that logics of affinity also operate in some social movements and academic theories. The necessity filled by this text is for a response to the repressive repetition of assumptions of inevitability of the current dominant system. Day's work is magnificent in showing the sheer range, proliferation and energy of actually-existing alternatives, and is sure to become a major reference for objections to the assumption that capitalism, the state or hierarchy are necessary.

The book reads like a roller-coaster ride, or maybe a stroll, through a plethora of movements and theories, including discussions of social movements such as the Argentine piqueteros, indigenous self-determination movements, Indymedia, Food Not Bombs, Reclaim the Streets, MST and other land rights movements, the Zapatistas, and OCAP, and theorists such as Negri, Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, Holloway, Bey, Agamben, Anzaldua, Marcos, Bakunin, Bakhtin, Derrida, Albert, Zizek, and more besides, taking in critiques along the way of Laclau, Lenin, Gramsci, Kymlicka, Panitch and other supporters of "hegemonic" logics. As this expansive list suggests, each of the cases is treated only very briefly, and connected into a longer thread which moves rapidly between settings and movements to draw out theoretical threads of the author's devising. The point is usually to show ways of thinking and acting which are outside the logic of hegemony.

The book is divided into seven chapters, three of which are mainly about current social movements, the others being primarily theory - a chapter criticising Marxist and liberal theories, another on poststructuralism and post-Marxism, a third on utopian socialism and classical anarchism, and a fourth on autonomism, Deleuzian theory and postanarchism. The affinity-hegemony binary runs as a leitmotif through these, though they sometimes read like a set of notes and short accounts strung together.

Day has combed through huge quantities of little-known material, and his bibliography is awash with activist publications, online discussions, specially translated materials, PhD theses and obscure texts from marginal traditions. The result is that pretty much anyone reading this text - even someone very well-versed in "horizontal" political theories - will discover social movements and bodies of theory of which they were previously unaware, addressed in ways which make them relevant to the politics of affinity.

The author also has his own specific narrative which loosely joins together the pieces, giving a minimal ethical and strategic perspective of his own. This aspect of the work isn't especially original or as well-worked as the kinds of theoretical texts Day engages with, but solidly places Day within a poststructuralist-inflected anarchist perspective. The title is quite misleading as there is little about Gramsci in the book. Gramsci is serving as a placeholder, partly for hegemony and partly for Laclauian theory; the reading of Gramsci (and of several other authors - for instance, the take on Deleuzian nomadism) are bound to be contentious with scholars of these respective theorists - a minor problem since the work is so broad in scope, but bound to irritate certain readers, especially among political theorists. This shouldn't detract greatly from a text the main advantages of which are its scope, its eye for the barely visible, and its perspective.
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Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements
Gramsci is Dead: Anarchist Currents in the Newest Social Movements by Richard J. F. Day (Paperback - 20 Sep 2005)
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