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Black Flags and Social MovementsA Sociological Analysis of Movement Anarchism$
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Dana M. Williams

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105547

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526105547.001.0001

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Conclusion: Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements

Conclusion: Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements

Chapter:
(p.226) 9 Conclusion: Revisiting the epistemology of anarchist movements
Source:
Black Flags and Social Movements
Author(s):

Dana M. Williams

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9781526105547.003.0009

Numerous conclusions can be drawn from preceding chapters. These conclusions include: anarchist movements are legitimately and empirically social movements; anarchists and their organizations are diverse, geographically dispersed, and have pronounced connections to past anarchists and their organizations; theories like political opportunity, new social movements, and social capital help to illuminate the variation and functioning of anarchist movements; and anarchists use a variety of techniques to successfully operate with non-anarchists, without compromising their ideological integrity. Then, a larger and more serious question needs to be asked by researchers who are sympathetic to their research subjects: can having an intimate, empirical understanding of a movement be bad for the movement and good for governments (and other agents of social control)? Or, hopefully, will the benefits of greater knowledge outweigh any negative outcomes? Finally, although research is never perfect or universally-generalizable, it may sometimes (and its best instances) be practical and useful to activists.

Keywords:   Knowledge, epistemology, risks, methodology

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