Religion and Philosophy

Utopianism and Prefiguration

By Ruth Kinna

This paper explores the ways in which radical utopian themes have been taken up in contemporary anarchist thought and, in particular, the relationship between utopianism and prefiguration. Prefiguration has become a definitional concept in anarchist political thinking, though the meaning of the term is not always clear and it is used to describe a range of positions and ideas. It has a special significance for protest movements, recently the Occupy movement. By probing the meanings that attach to the term and reflecting on the nature of the utopianism that prefiguration describes, the paper considers how utopia limits and extends the possibilities of protest in contemporary radical politics.

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