Anarchism Today
by Randall Amster
March 2012, 230pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-39872-8
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-0-313-39873-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

From World Trade Organization protests to the thwarted 2010 letter-bomb campaign in Europe, actions taken in the name of anarchy continue to make headlines. But these sensational, sometimes off-putting events obscure the fact that anarchism itself is a sophisticated, centuries-old school of political thought that has the potential for positive contributions to our future.

With all of the provocative, sometimes highly destructive acts committed in the name of anarchy, this enlightening volume invites readers to discover the true meaning of anarchism, exploring its vivid history and its resurgent relevance for addressing today's most vexing social problems.

In Anarchism Today, an acclaimed scholar and one of the world’s foremost advocates for the anarchistic tradition cuts through common misconceptions and caricatures to explore what is perhaps the most poorly understood of all political theories.

As author Randall Amster explains, rather than being an anti-everything rationale for defiance and destruction, anarchism is in fact a coherent set of values and practices with a rich history and contemporary relevance. Passionate and provocative, Amster’s book offers readers an expert’s perspective on what anarchism really means, including its relationship to other political approaches, its careful balancing of individual liberty and a functioning society, and its controversial image as a wellspring of violence. Along the way, Amster addresses a number of current issues from the perspective of anarchism, including corporate globalization, environmentalism, warfare, nationalism, education, technology, alternative economics, criminal justice, and even spirituality. He concludes with a frank assessment of anarchism’s impact and the role it can play in building a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Randall Amster, JD, PhD, is graduate chair of humanities at Prescott College, AZ. He is executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association, and serves as contributing editor for the blog New. Clear. Vision. ( Among his recent books are Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness and the coedited volume Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action.


"A professor and respected philosopher in his own right, Amster's approach to anarchism is a refreshing break from scholars who've historically dismissed the movement as a kind of “anti-everything” ideology. Anarchism Today is a much-needed contemporary read. . . . From self-described anarchists and amateur sociologists to political scholars and concerned citizens, Amster's book is sure to broaden the conversation about an important theory that continues to shape the current social and political landscape."—Philadelphia City Paper, July 6, 2012

“Deeply insightful, up-to-the-minute, and a pleasure to read. Amster's outstanding introduction will be admired by veterans and newcomers alike.”—Uri Gordon, Author of Anarchy Alive!

“If you're looking for intelligent and well-informed writing on anarchism, read this book.”—Gabriel Kuhn, Editor/translator of Gustav Landauer: Revolution and Other Writings

“Clearly written and calmly argued, equal parts a compendium of contemporary anarchism and a quiet manifesto for what’s to come, Randall Amster’s Anarchism Today is just the right book at the right time. Ably guiding the reader through the many currents of history, theory, and activism that make anarchism the force it is today, Amster persuasively suggests the shape of an anarchist tomorrow as well.” —Jeff Ferrell, Author of Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy

“In clear, concise language, Anarchism Today explains historical anarchist theories and explores how they manifest in many of today's movements for justice. A must-read for those both new to and already familiar with anarchism.”—Victoria Law, Author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women and coeditor of Don't Leave Your Friends Behind

Anarchism Today presents a new and fresh look at anarchism, both as a philosophy and a practice. It contains bold and courageous ideas that will engage the novice and challenge those well-versed in the tradition. In these difficult times, this book leaves you with a sense of hope for the future.”—Luis A. Fernandez, Director of the Program on Sustainable Communities, Northern Arizona University, and Author of Policing Dissent and Shutting Down the Streets
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