The Prefigurative Is Political: On Politics Beyond ‘The State’

Chapter

Abstract

In order to make sense of contemporary prefigurative movements and their transformative potential, we need a more expansive notion of politics and a more nuanced understanding of ‘the state’ than that found in most North American social movement theory. In this chapter, Brissette traces critics’ failure to register the political nature of prefigurative politics to an underlying conceptual framework that defines politics in relation to existing state structures and reifies the state as a bounded entity distinct from society. Drawing on Marx’s theorization of the state as abstraction to contest this reification, Brissette locates the political nature of prefigurative movements in the process of constituting collective life as a community-in-freedom beyond the state.

Keywords

Prefigurative politics Civil society The state Social movement theory Karl Marx Reification of the state 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyBridgewater State UniversityBridgewaterUSA

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