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12. Egoism and Social Anarchism

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About this Lecture


In this module, we explore two types of anarchism that arise from different views about politics ¬– egoism and social anarchism. In particular, we think about: (i) the tension between the idea that individuals ought to be sovereign (i.e. free from domination) and that individuals are brought up in particular societies that are potentially dominating; (ii) the social anarchist response to this tension, where individuals ought to work individually or collectively to transform the society they live in to make it less dominating; and (iii) the egoist response to this tension, where individuals ought to reject the dominating forces in society, flouting rules and conventions if and when necessary, and assert themselves individually.


In this course, Professor Ruth Kinna (Loughborough University) explores the idea of anarchism. In the first five modules, we introduce five key figures in anarchist thinking: Max Stirner (1806-65), Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809-65), Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876), Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), and Emma Goldman (1869-1940). After that, we spend five modules exploring four key principles in anarchism: rejection of the state, liberty, economic freedom and utopianism. In the eleventh, twelfth and thirteen modules, we think about six different types of anarchism – individualism, collectivism, communism, egoism, social anarchism and syndicalism – before turning in the final four modules to explore seven key concepts in anarchism: power, authority, government, the state, altruism, autonomy and direct action.


Ruth Kinna is Professor of Political Theory in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Loughborough University. She is a political theorist and historian of ideas with research interests in anarchism, nineteenth and early twentieth-century socialist thought, utopianism and contemporary radicalism. Her book William Morris: The Art of Socialism was published in 2000. She has since published The Beginner's Guide to Anarchism (Oneworld, 2005/2009), Kropotkin: Reviewing the Classical Anarchist Tradition (University of Edinburgh, 2016) and The Government of No One (Pelican, 2019).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Kinna, R. (2020, February 17). Anarchism - Egoism and Social Anarchism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Kinna, R. "Anarchism – Egoism and Social Anarchism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Feb 2020,