Formulating an Anarchist Sociology: Peter Kropotkin’s Reading of Herbert Spencer

Formulating an Anarchist Sociology: Peter Kropotkin’s Reading of Herbert Spencer ABSTRACT: The work of Herbert Spencer was a crucial influence on the development of Peter Kropotkin’s historical sociology. However, scholars have underestimated this relationship; either overlooking it entirely, or minimizing Kropotkin’s attachment to Spencer with the aim of maintaining the utility of his political thought in the present. This article contests these interpretations by analyzing Kropotkin’s reading of Spencer’s epistemological, biological, and political ideas. It argues that Kropotkin was engaged in a critical dialogue with Spencer, incorporating many Spencerian principles in his own system, but also using this reading to articulate a distinctive anarchist politics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of Ideas University of Pennsylvania Press

Formulating an Anarchist Sociology: Peter Kropotkin’s Reading of Herbert Spencer

Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume 77 (1) – Feb 25, 2016

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The Journal of the History of Ideas, Inc.
ISSN
1086-3222
Publisher site
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Abstract

ABSTRACT: The work of Herbert Spencer was a crucial influence on the development of Peter Kropotkin’s historical sociology. However, scholars have underestimated this relationship; either overlooking it entirely, or minimizing Kropotkin’s attachment to Spencer with the aim of maintaining the utility of his political thought in the present. This article contests these interpretations by analyzing Kropotkin’s reading of Spencer’s epistemological, biological, and political ideas. It argues that Kropotkin was engaged in a critical dialogue with Spencer, incorporating many Spencerian principles in his own system, but also using this reading to articulate a distinctive anarchist politics.

Journal

Journal of the History of IdeasUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Feb 25, 2016

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