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6. Non-Desirability of the State

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the non-desirability of the state, before moving on in the next module to consider its non-necessity. In this module, we focus in particular on: (i) the belief that the state should be replaced with self-organisation; (ii) the idea of the state as a colonising force that compels individuals to behave in particular ways, to enforce uniformity, and to suppress diversity; (iii) the idea of the state as a distributor rather than an inventor of services, and the fact that these services could continue to exist even if the state did not.


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 - Non-Desirability of the State [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Kinna, R. "Anarchism – Non-Desirability of the State." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 17 Feb 2020,