Re-appropriating the political through enacting a pedagogical politics of place

John Crossan

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper critically analyses the post-political thesis, highlighting its universalising and agency-grabbing tendencies. Drawing on my own family life, anarchist theory and long-standing traditions of 'properly' political placemaking by past and present grassroots actors, the paper unsettles two interrelated claims on which the post-political thesis sits. First, that the political (le politique) is in retreat. Second, that 'proper' politics constitutes a confrontational set of relations. Informed by empirical observations I present an existing form of rigorous political encounter enacted in anarchist-influenced social centres. The politics on offer here has a supportive pedagogical quality to it and, crucially, there are semblances of this pedagogical politics found in multiple sites. Focusing on the 'micro-physics of power' at work in social centres, I show how such organisational practices counter the predetermined finalities of the post-political condition by enacting what I call 'equality-as-tactic'. Community here is not an empty vessel that can be easily filled with 'empty signifiers'. On the contrary, post-political practices tend to crack under the scrutiny of a pedagogical politics aimed at equalising participation in the decisionmaking process.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Early online date4 Oct 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2016


  • Anarchism
  • Democracy
  • Equality
  • Placemaking
  • Post-politics
  • Social centre

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