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Constituent Imagination

Constituent Imagination

Constituent Imagination. Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization  Erika Biddle (Editor), Stevphen Shukaitis (Editor), and David Graeber (Editor)

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From the ivory tower to the barricades! Radical intellectuals explore the relationship between research and resistance.

What is the relationship of radical theory to movements for social change? In a world where more and more global struggles are refusing vanguard parties and authoritarian practices, does the idea of the detached intellectual, observing events from on high, make sense anymore? In this powerful and unabashedly militant collection, over two dozen academic authors and engaged intellectuals—including Antonio Negri and Colectivo Situaciones—provide some challenging answers. In the process, they redefine the nature of intellectual practice itself.

The twenty essays cover a broad range: embedded intellectuals in increasingly corporatized universities, research projects in which factory workers and academics work side by side, revolutionary ethnographies of the Global Justice Movement, meditations on technology from the branches of a Scottish tree-sit. What links them all is a collective and expansive re-imagining of engaged intellectual work in the service of social change. In a cultural climate in where right-wing watchdog groups seem to have radical academics on the run, this unapologetic anthology is a breath of fresh air.

"These essays present a series of inspiring examples of how to conduct research for radical politics both inside and outside the university." —Michael Hardt

"This book is one of a kind. This book answers the question of what anarchist social studies, as opposed to conventional Marxism or liberalism, might look like. It combines a searching discussion of methods of research with substantive issues such as 'Who is the researcher?' Arguing that research is engaged or it is nothing, that academics who have no commitment to fundamental social change generally cannot produce work that illuminates the world and sparks the radical imagination, the various authors represented in this volume have collectively made a critical contribution to knowledge." —Stanley Aronowitz


Stevphen Shukaitis is a research fellow at the University of London, Queen Mary, and a member of the Autonomedia Editorial Collective.

David Graeber is an anthropologist and activist living in New York. He is the author of Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology and Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value