The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 1: Social Ontology | WSB #14

November 14, 2017

What does the Stanford Prison Experiment have to do with a case for anarchism?

In this episode, I argue for a certain view of the state. Piggybacking off Max Weber's definition of the state as a "human community that successfully claims the monopoly over the use of physical force within a given territory", I propose a similar but broader definition. Whereas Weber's definition is a political one, based on power analysis, my definition purports to be sociological, and therefore less morally charged than Weber's. Crucial to my take on the state is the concept of a Collective Interpretive Framework (CIF) - a shared lens through which we interpret reality. I argue that the state is a function of a particular CIF; in other words, it is a certain CIF we share that causes reality to manifest governments. This view of the state as a "self-fulfilling prophecy" and "shared hallucination" sets the stage for the case for anarchism coming in part 2.

Next week: The Case for Anarchism, Pt. 2: Necessity and Strategy

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Special thanks to Jackie Blum for the podcast art, and The Tin Box for the theme music.


"Stanford Prison Experiment" by Philip Zimbardo (website)
"Politics as a Vocation" by Max Weber
"Would You Press the Button?" by William Nava