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DAY, Richard J. F. "From hegemony to affinity: The political logic of the newest social movements"

Monday 22 November 2004, by ps

Cultural studies. 2004, vol. 18, no 5, pp. 716 - 748 [ 33 pages. ]

" Drawing upon a critique of the (post)Marxist theory of hegemony and examples from contemporary activism, this article assesses new possibilities for the construction of radical alternatives within and against postmodern globalizing capitalism. It notes that many elements of the ’newest’ social movements have taken a turn away from the universalizing conception of social change that is characteristic of the logic of hegemony as it has developed within (post)Marxism and (neo)liberalism. Instead, these activist currents are driven by an anarchist logic of affinity. Along with this logic has come an emphasis on direct action tactics, which is discussed with reference to a theoretical distinction between a politics of the act and a politics of demand. Although most existing paradigms of social movement analysis have not addressed these shifts, they are implicitly acknowledged in the concept of constituent power developed by Michael Hardt and Toni Negri. Their work falls short, however, to the extent that it remains in other respects within the tradition of hegemonic thought. To more fully comprehend current developments, it is necessary to construct an alternative genealogy based on anarchist theory and practice, with a focus on the tradition of ’structural renewal’ that finds it apogee in the work of Gustav Landauer. "