Structure And Anarchy

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In theory and logic it is relatively easy to show that structure and leadership are more effective than anarchy and consensus in getting things done. In historical experience, however, there is a good argument to be made that movements have made their greatest accomplishments at times when formal leadership and structure have been least important, and anarchy and consensus most prevalent.This paper explores the two arguments to evaluate the strengths and limitations of alternative positions on a set of related issues addressing structure, leadership, majority votes to determine group positions, consensus, working to avoid having leaders or seeing everyone as a leader, group processes, and the


Any organization has a structure and leadership. It is also recognized that an organization is primarily its people. In theoretical discussions it is widely agreed that social movements are not organizations. As Freeman (1978) says," Granted, most movements are not organizations and thus not able to make conscious decisions about their direction. Usually they consist of numerous core groups and a large penumbra of sympathizers. Nonetheless, these core groups serve as the foci of a movement's values and activities and determine much of its deliberate policy". It is here that the crux issue rises. Lacking a resolute structure a social movement always faces instability and the conflict between group maintenance needs and goal achievement needs. The core values of the movement can have a constellation of other values supported by differing groups. ...
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