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David Graeber: Anarchy—In a Manner of Speaking

David Graeber

Anarchy—In a Manner of Speaking
Conversations with Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Nika Dubrovsky, and Assia Turquier-Zauberman

Softcover, 204 pages

PDF, 204 pages



A dialogue that doesn’t cover up its traces

David Graeber’s influential thinking was always at odds with the liberal and left-wing mainstream. Drawing on his huge theoretical and practical experience as an ethnologist and anthropologist, activist and anarchist, Graeber and his interlocutors develop a ramified genealogy of anarchist thought and possible perspectives for 21st-century politics.


Diverging from the familiar lines of historical anarchism, and against the background of movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Gilets jaunes, the aim is to provide new political impulses that go beyond the usual schemata of unavoidableness. The spontaneous and swift-moving polylogue shows Graeber as a spirited, unorthodox thinker and radical activist for whom the group can always achieve more than the individual.

  • 7–11

    Foreword: A dialogue that doesn’t cover up its traces

  • 12–27

    Introduction to anarchy—all the things it is not

  • 27–34

    Reins on the imagination—the illusion of impossibility

  • 34–38

    Revolutions in common sense

  • 38–44

    Feminist ethics in anarchy—working with incommensurable perspectives

  • 45–49

    The three characteristics of statehood and their independence (two for us, one for the cosmos)

  • 49–52

    America 1—not a democracy, never meant to be

  • 53–65

    America 2—the indigenous critique & freedom works fine but it’s a terrible idea & ...

  • 65–73

    With great responsibility comes precarious tongue-tied intellectuals

  • 73–78

    Anthropology as art

  • 78–80

    Anthropology and economics

  • 80–84

    Freedom 1—which finite resources?

  • 84–91

    Freedom 2—property and Kant’s chiasmic structure of freedom

  • 92–98

    Freedom 3—friendship, play and quantification

  • 98–104

    Freedom 4—critical realism, emergent levels of freedom

  • 105–111

    Freedom 5—negotiating the rules of the game

  • 112–120

    Play fascism

  • 120–131

    Leave, disobey, reshuffle

  • 131–139

    Great man theory and historical necessity

  • 139–148

    Theories of desire

  • 148–150

    Graeber reads MBK and proposes a three-way dialectic that ends in care

  • 150–156

    Art and atrocity

  • 157–161

    Vampires, cults, hippies

  • 161–169


  • 169–184

    Rules of engagement

  • 185–186

    Dual sovereignty

  • 187–191

    Against the politics of opinion

  • 191–197

    The world upside down (and the mind always upward)

  • 197–204

    God as transgression and anarchy as God

  • anarchism
  • political theory
  • community
  • resistance
  • anarchy

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David Graeber

David Graeber

(1961–2020) was an American anthropologist, anarchist, political activist, the author of several books, and a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Until 2007 he was assistant and associate professor of anthropology at Yale University, until 2013 a reader for Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and until last a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics.