Answer: Habermas and anarchism


I was not able to find much that explicitly dealt with anarchism and Habermas or civil society. You also might want check to see if your library has the Alternative Press Index, they index articles from leftist/radical periodicals that a lot of the other databases/indexes do not cover.

If you are interested in knowing more about Habermas I found this web site with a ton of links to information about Habermas.

Here, Murray Bookchin (a social anarchist) discusses Habermas in "Finding the Subject: Notes on Whitebook and 'Habermas Ltd.'"

Here is an article that mentions Habermas in a discussion about postmodernism and anarchism.

I searched for articles and books in several different social science databases. Since I would describe Habermas as a social democrat, he does not seem to deal with anarchism very much in his writings. Here are a few articles that might be of interest to you.

*These are abstracts (a short summary of the article), so if you want the article you are probably going to have to go to a library to get them. These journals are probably going to be in academic libraries, so if you have access to one I would try there first.

  • Title: Communication with the Environment? Non-human Nature in the Theories of Jurgen Habermas.
    Authors: Whitworth, Andrew
    Source: Politics; Sep2000, Vol. 20 Issue 3, p145, 7p
    Document Type: Article
    Subject Terms: *POLITICAL science -- Philosophy
    *SOCIAL movements
    People: HABERMAS, Jurgen
    Abstract: Discusses the position of non-human nature in the political theories of Jurgen Habermas and the idea of advocacy as a method of resolving certain difficulties in this area. Analytical tool for the analysis of politics including social movements; Inability of non-human nature to participate in language-based discourse.
    Full Text Word Count: 3729
    ISSN: 0263-3957
    Accession Number: 3727958
  • Title: On misunderstanding Habermas: A response to Rajchman.
    Authors: Wolin, Richard
    Source: New German Critique; Winter90 Issue 49, p139, 16p
    Document Type: Article
    Subject Terms: *CRITICISM
    People: HABERMAS, Jurgen
    Abstract: Comments on a critique of Jurgen Habermas' `The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity,' by John Rajchman, published in the Fall 1988 issue of the `New German Critique,' journal. Differences between Habermas and Michel Foucault; Prejudicial rhetorical dimension of the review.
    Full Text Word Count: 6425
    ISSN: 0094-033X
  • Title Communicative Rationality and Decision Making in Environmental Organizations
    Author Whitworth, Andrew
    Affiliation School Politics & International Studies, U Leeds, UK
    Source Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, 2003, 24, 123-153
    ISSN 1040-9688

    Abstract Decision-making processes within environmental social movement organizations are analyzed with reference to principles derived from the communicative rationality of Jurgen Habermas. Habermas can provide normative grounds for consensual decision making, & analytical tools by which one can judge existing practices. The radical environmental organization chosen as an example of such analysis is Earth First. But insight is also given into the operations of more hierarchical organizations such as Friends of the Earth. Organization theory can be used to show how these two different types of organization legitimate themselves in order to acquire resources from their environments, & thereby effectively engage in their chosen activities. These differing needs & structures impact upon their respective decision-making processes in certain ways. Overall, while FOE is less able to put communicative rationality into practice than radical groups, the difficulties it faces here can potentially be overcome. Both organizational forms can therefore be constructively analyzed using the principles of communicative rationality. 57 References. Adapted from the source document.

I also found two books that might help with the civil society and anarchism question.

  • Title: Anarchism and civil society
    Author(s): Roy, Rémi, 1950-
    Publication: Ottawa : National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada,
    Year: 1991
    Description: 3 microfiches.
    Language: English
    Series: Canadian theses = Thèses canadiennes;
    Standard No: ISBN: 0315634324; National Library: 920280056
    Note(s): University Microfilms order no. UMI00287988./ Includes bibliographical references./ Dissertation: Thesis (Ph. D.)--McGill University, 1990.

    *This is a Ph. D. Dissertation so getting your hands on it could be difficult. But it looks like it could help you a great deal.

  • Title: Radical theories :
    paths beyond Marxism and social democracy /
    Author(s): Schecter, Darrow.
    Publication: Manchester ; New York : Manchester University Press ; New York : Distributed exclusively in the USA and Canada by St. Martin's Press,
    Year: 1994
    Description: 205 p. ; 22 cm.
    Language: English
    Standard No: ISBN: 0719036186 (hardback); 0719043859 (pbk.) LCCN: 93-50584
  • Here is a journal article that looks good.
    Title: Global civil society, anarchy and governance: Assessing an emerging paradigm.
    Authors: Turner, Scott
    Source: Journal of Peace Research; Jan98, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p25, 18p
    Document Type: Article
    Subject Terms: *CIVIL society
    Abstract: Argues that global civil society potentially poses both an empirical and normative challenge to realist assumptions. Reference to alternative anarchist tradition views; Details on the origin of state-centered governance; Definition of anarchism.
    ISSN: 0022-3433

I hope that this helps

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