Anarchist Studies Network conference 2012

15 Sep

Last week I participated in the second conference from the Anarchist Studies Network, both as a speaker and as a stream co-organiser. On the first afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking about my research in a panel organised by Simon Collister and which also included a very interesting presentation by Aaron Peters. The abstracts are currently available on Simon’s blog and hopefully the papers will be made available in some form in the near future.

I also co-organised a stream, with Konstantin Stoborod, on the second day looking at the (potential) connections between anarchism and critical management studies. This was a bit of a gamble as anarchists aren’t exactly fond of the idea of management and given that not many at the conference would have heard of critical management studies, we we’re worried that attendance would be minimal. In fact, the mention of management seemed to interest a lot of people and the stream was very well attended, and if gossip and eavesdropping are anything to go by, quite a few more were provoked by the stream. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad press.

The stream was split into two sessions, one with three presentations and the other with a round-table discussion on anarchism and critical management studies. In the first session, Neil Sutherland and George Kokkinidis presented on the organisational principles and realities of an anarchist student group and three Greek workers’ collectives respectively. Neil’s talk focussed on the role of leadership among the student anarchists and related anarchist ideas about non-hierarchical organisation to the literature in leadership studies. George, on the other hand, present the early results of his fieldwork done this summer in Greece and spoke about the decision-making structures in the three workers’ collectives. These talks were followed by Bojan Radej who presented all the way from Slovenia via Skype. Bojan spoke about anti-systems movements and social exclusion.

In the afternoon on the second day of the conference we also organised a round-table discussion which was chaired by Prof. Martin Parker of the University of Leicester. This discussion, the recording of which will soon be made available, looked at the possibility of speaking about anarchism and management in a complementary way. On the whole, it was a great conference and a great opening to our project of bringing anarchism and critical management studies together so that each discipline can learn from the other. This is something we’ll be pushing forward with in the coming months and years with similar events planned for next year and a special issue of a journal on the topic planned for publication in 2014.


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