Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. David Graeber. David Graeber. Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is. Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology has ratings and 95 reviews. Liz said: the bits about actual anthropology were good but I wanted more of an a. Fragments of an anarchist anthropology BY DAVID GRAEBER Graeber’s short and self-consciously fragmentary book rehearses critiques of capitalism.

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Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology by David Graeber. Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is, except the academy. Anarchists repeatedly anarchistt to anthropologists for ideas about how society might be reorganized on a more egalitarian, less alienating basis. Anthropologists, terrified of being accused of romanticism, respond with silence. But what if they didn’t? This pamphlet Everywhere anarchism is on the upswing as a political philosophy—everywhere, that is, except the academy.

This pamphlet ponders what that response would be, and explores the implications of linking anthropology to anarchism.

Here, David Graeber invites readers to imagine this discipline that currently only exists in the realm of possibility: Paperbackpages. Published April 1st by Prickly Paradigm Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropologyplease sign up.

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Fragments of an anarchist anthropology – David Graeber

Jun 06, Liz rated it liked it. View all 5 comments. May 02, Parker rated it it was amazing.

This was another assigned book, and one my professor had raved about reading. It lived up to everything she said, and then some. I haven’t read much about anarchism, and probably am guilty of some of the misconceptions Graeber describes academics displaying on fragmnets topic. But in just over pages, tragments very lucidly lays out a description of the political philosophy, the problems it faces in academic adoption, and the case for anthropological study of anarchist groups.

Incidentally, his description This was another assigned book, and one my professor had raved about reading. Incidentally, his description makes anarchy sound a lot more appealing than I had thought of it earlier, but consistent with the tenets of anarchism that he describes, he is not proselytizing.

Interspersed throughout are subtle and clever jokes that struck me as an unusual but welcome addition to what could have been a very dry academic text. His title is an apt one: For its length and intents, though, this book is a fantastic introduction to the concepts discussed therein.

Oct 05, Adam rated it liked it Shelves: I think anthropologists should make common cause with them.

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Graeber

We have antheopology at our fingertips that could be of enormous importance for human freedom. It’s a connection that I became aware of as an undergraduate anthropology student, and on which I’ve reflected since meeting many anarchists. The importance of anthropology for anarchism is that it demonstrates the possibilities of living in other conditions; namely, in the absence of capitalism or the state.


The beginning of any revolutionary process is the ability to imagine alternatives; to dream. Anarchism is revolutionary because it is, as one anarchist anthology is titled; Demanding the Impossible. Thanks to anthropology, imagining alternatives to our lived reality doesn’t have to remain in our dreams; we can do it by trying to put ourselves in the ftagments of those people who walk in a a wholly alternate reality.

Frzgments should come as no surprise, then, that there have always been anthropologists who have identified with anarchism or framents had anarchist sympathies Radcliffe-Brown; Mauss. The latter is of most interest to me, and on which Graeber most concentrates.

A point of congruence between vragments and anarchism that I’ve thought a lot about, and which I think Graeber should have explored more, is how the practice of ethnography can be instructive for the practice of democratic organizational practice. This is something I plan on writing about some day Greaber’s principle argument is that anthropologists are the exclusive owners of information about communities and societies that function without states or capitalist economies.

It is therefore anthropologists’ responsibility to share this information and engage people in dialogue who wish to build liberated relationships and communities. Glib, and perhaps an overstatement.

Fragments of an anarchist anthropology – David Graeber

But his example from indigenous Madagascaran groups is much more compelling than the Crimethinc types. Find the complete text at: Mar 06, Laura Patru rated it it was amazing. Since they are the only scholars who know anything about stateless societies many having lived in such societiesthey are aware that the assumption that people would just kill each other in the absence of a state is completely untrue.

The first step towards an anti-capitalist society, as Graeber presents it, is to dream, to imagine alternatives, to demand the impossible. Their work demonstrates that out there is an endless variety of social and political organization to draw from, that it is possible to live in other conditions.

Apr 08, K rated it liked it Shelves: A bit small and incoherent and reminded me of Bakunin’s writings. The word ”fragments” on the title is of course self evident of the book’s structure. David Graeber is an anthropologist and also an anarchist. He believes that anthropologists possess the tools and theories that could help shape an anarchistic vision of the future.

He doesn’t paint this future in any significant detail though, but he does give some startings points -which aren’t new in any way. As I’ve said, it’s largely incohere A bit small and incoherent and reminded me of Bakunin’s writings. As I’ve said, it’s largely incoherent with no sense fragment flow so the author jumps from one point to the next leaving you with a sense of confusion. Firstly, he provides some basic notions of anarchist thought, then talks about ideas of various anthropologists, then about Madagascar’s tribes, then about contemporary society and so on and so forth.

To be fair though, his conclusions do shape things up a little. I’m very sympathetic towards anarchist anthropo,ogy and I find David Graeber a very smart and engaging person. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this book. The title is honest, it’s too small to judge it for lacking any concrete new theory and it seems that it wants to be superficial.


Perhaps somebody who hasn’t read much about these things can find it a good beginner’s read but this isn’t the case for me. Steve Keen -the australian guru-economist – has recommended his book on debt. I’ll try that one in the future. Mar 04, Miquixote rated it really liked it Shelves: Graeber goes qn several subjects, but of particular interest may be the debate between consensus democracy and compulsion democracy.

Marxists like to argue that consensus democracy simply wears people down until they are ‘browbeaten into agreement’ and is therefore just as bad.

David here thinks that is a stretch. And I tend to agree. He also admirably makes quite clear the parody of intellectual ‘debate’ in academic circles.

Another thing about the book I particulary liked was the strong critiq Graeber goes into several subjects, but of particular interest may be the debate between consensus democracy and compulsion democracy. Some may quibble with the anti-state feel here, but this is anarchist anti-state fare.

A deserved classic with anarchists although certainly not with the academic elite and free online. May 09, Sharlyn rated it it was amazing Shelves: I first read this book in orwhen I was still new to anarchism.

I think I read it twice back-to-back because I loved it so much and because it’s such an accessible and concise introduction. Having just read it again and now being much more familiar with many of the principles and arguments Graeber is discussing, I still love it and highly graebwr it!

Graebeer still a great intro, but it’s also a terrific little perk: Aside from being sort of cutely humorous on its own and super confident, the fragmenhs that Graeber shares of stateless of anarchistic communities are abthropology excellent reminders of what inadequate histories we in the U. Another world IS possible, and in fact, has existed in many places and times, whether “we” knew about it, or whether we defined it or of relevance with our Eurocentric ideas of civilization and democracy.

Mar 01, Tinea rated it liked it Recommended to Tinea by: Anarchist and Radical Book Club. An anarchist and academic challenges other anarchic academics to bring it harder in the academy. I love Graeber’s approach to theory: Pure, not as in uncomplicated, but pure as in grounded in a simple opposition to oppression and embrace of all people as fragmenhs.

Short enough to read yourself. The ending was particularly strong and nice. Full text available here. Discussion from the A Book Club on Goodreads here. May 02, Nick rated it really liked it Shelves: Oct 06, Morgane rated it it was amazing. Grweber just over pages, this book packs quite a punch. It also makes the case for why anthropology has the answers we seek for how to reorganize society.