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Brian Morris is professor emeritus of anthropology at Goldsmiths College, London. He received a doctorate in social anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, having done his PhD fieldwork among hunter-gatherers in Southern India. Prior to his academic career, he worked as a tea planter in Malawi where he has done extensive fieldwork. He has written books and articles on topics including ecology, botany, philosophy, history, religion, anthropology, ethnobiology, and social anarchism. After discovering anarchist thought in the mid-1960s, he remained active in various protests and political movements. His previous political books include Kropotkin: The Politics of Community; Ecology and Anarchism: Essays and Reviews on Contemporary Thought; and Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom. Other books he has written include Anthropology and the Human Subject, Pioneers of Ecological Humanism, Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction, The History and Conservation of Mammals in Malawi, Insects and Human Life, Animals and Ancestors: An Ethnography, Western Conceptions of the Individual, Anthropology of the Self: The Individual in Cultural Perspective, and Forest Traders: a Socio-economic Study of the Hill Pandaram.

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Kropotkin: The Politics of Community
Author: Brian Morris
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-505-7
Published: 05/01/2018
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 320
Subjects: Political Theory-Anarchism/Philosophy

The nineteenth century witnessed the growth of anarchist literature, which advocated a society based on voluntary cooperation without government authority. Although his classical writings on mutual aid and the philosophy of anarchism are still published today, Peter Kropotkin remains a neglected figure. A talented geographer and a revolutionary socialist, Kropotkin was one of the most important theoreticians of the anarchist movement.

In Kropotkin: The Politics of Community, Brian Morris reaffirms with an attitude of critical sympathy the contemporary relevance of Kropotkin as a political and moral philosopher and as a pioneering social ecologist. Well-researched and wide-ranging, this volume not only presents an important contribution to the history of anarchism, both as a political tradition and as a social movement, but also offers insightful reflections on contemporary debates in political theory and ecological thought. After a short biographical note, the book analyzes in four parts Kropotkin’s writings on anarchist communism, agrarian socialism, and integral education; modern science and evolutionary theory; the French Revolution and the modern state; and possessive individualism, terror, and war.

Standing as a comprehensive and engaging introduction to anarchism, social ecology, and the philosophy of evolutionary holism, Kropotkin is written in a straightforward manner that will appeal to those interested in social anarchism and in alternatives to neoliberal doctrines.


“Peter Kropotkin has been largely ignored as a utopian crackpot, but Brian Morris demonstrates in this wide-ranging and detailed analysis that Kropotkin addressed significantly and perceptively the major issues of the present day.”
—Harold B. Barclay, author of People without Government: An Anthropology of Anarchy

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Anthropology, Ecology, and Anarchism: A Brian Morris Reader
Author: Brian Morris • Introduction by Peter Marshall
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-60486-093-1
Published: 12/14
Format: Paperback
Size: 9 x 6
Page Count: 288
Subjects: Politics-Anarchism/ Social Science-Anthropology

Over the course of a long career, Brian Morris has created an impressive body of engaging and insightful writings—from social anthropology and ethnography to politics, history, and philosophy—that have made these subjects accessible to the layperson without sacrificing analytical rigor. But until now, the essays collected here, originally published in obscure journals and political magazines, have been largely unavailable to the broad readership to which they are so naturally suited. The opposite of arcane, specialized writing, Morris’s work takes an interdisciplinary approach that moves seamlessly among topics, offering up coherent and practical connections between his various scholarly interests and his deeply held commitment to anarchist politics and thought.

Approached in this way, anthropology and ecology are largely untapped veins whose relevance for anarchism and other traditions of social thought have only recently begun to be explored and debated. But there is a long history of anarchist writers drawing upon works in those related fields. Morris’s essays both explore past connections and suggest ways that broad currents of anarchist thought will have new and ever-emerging relevance for anthropology and many other ways of understanding social relationships. His writings avoid the constraints of dogma and reach across an impressive array of topics to give readers a lucid orientation within these traditions and point to new ways to confront common challenges.


“Brian Morris blazed a lot of trails. He is a scholar of genuine daring and great humanity, and his work deserves to be read and debated for a very long time to come.“
—David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years

“This is a marvelously original book bursting with new ideas. I have read it with enormous interest and admiration. This collection of essays is an outstanding contribution to anthropology, environmental thought, and anarchism.“
—Andrej Grubacic, professor and department chair in Anthropology and Social Change, California Institute of Integral Studies

“Before there was ’anarchist anthropology,’ there was Brian Morris. This collection introduces the work of an intrepid pioneer, taking anarchist perspectives to where you would least expect them.“
—Gabriel Kuhn, editor and translator of All Power to the Councils! A Documentary History of the German Revolution of 1918–1919, Liberating Society from the State and Other Writings by Erich Mühsam, and Revolution and Other Writings by Gustav Landauer

“Brian Morris’s scholarship is nothing if not compendious. . . . Morris’s achievement is formidable. His control of such a breadth of material is enviable, and his style is always lucid. He makes difficult work accessible. His prose conveys the unmistakable impression of a superb and meticulous lecturer at work.“
—Anthony P. Cohen, University of Edinburgh

“Morris’s acerbic analysis of established literature is matched by nuanced ethnographic analysis. . . . He writes accessibly about complicated matters.“
—Allen F. Roberts, University of California, Los Angeles

“There is very little I can add to the outstanding criticism Brian Morris levels at deep ecology . . . insightful as well as incisive. . . . I have found his writings an educational experience.” —Murray Bookchin, author of The Ecology of Freedom and Post-Scarcity Anarchism

“As well as a respected academic and author of many works on social anthropology, Brian Morris has also been a prolific writer on ecology and anarchism. There is, though, little name recognition amongst libertarians. It has largely depended on whether one was fortunate enough to be a reader of one of the periodicals to which he contributed. The present selection is therefore a notable event; and it is to be hoped that Morris will now break through to the wide and appreciative anarchist audience he deserves.” —David Goodway, author of Anarchist Seeds Beneath the Snow and Talking Anarchy (with Colin Ward)

“Morris draws on an incredible range of knowledge, and approaches his writing in a spirit of critical appreciation, with a style which is free of posturing and point scoring.” —Direct Action

“[Morris] is a polymath, interested in a broad spectrum of politics, philosophy, ecology and education, and he has pushed out the frontiers of his chosen discipline. He is someone who looks for interconnections and seeks to understand the whole.” —Pat Caplan, Goldsmiths College, London

“Brian . . . is one of those rare academics who want to spread ideas through teaching and writing for a wide range of publications rather than through obscure academic texts. His writing is always well researched and scholarly whilst remaining accessible to a wide audience.” —Organise!


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What Others are Saying

kropotkin Kropotkin: The Politics of Community: A Review
By Eve Ottenberg
August 2018

Right from the start, Morris is at pains to distinguish between anarchist communists and socialists. But distinctions between founding a federation of autonomous communities or a workers’ state seem remote and secondary in these dark, reactionary times, in which an evil, thieving, global capitalist empire rules the world and through its environmental rape threatens the future of life on earth. What Kropotkin would call an empire of brigands has seized planetary control. In his day, at the time of the 1871 Paris Commune, there was hope. Now we have despair. But despair can be put to good use; with lucidity about where this global, fossil-fuel capitalism leads – to the grave – despair can invigorate the struggle for any socialist alternative.

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aea Anthropology, Ecology, and Anarchism: A Brian Morris Reader: A Review
By Alan Barnard
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume 23, Issue 3
August 4th, 2017

The introduction by philosopher and historian Peter Marshall describes Morris’s background and comments on his essays. While not really essential for those who already know Morris’s extensive work, Marshall’s introduction will no doubt be useful to those who do not. In this review I have only had space to scratch the surface, but Anthropology, ecology, and anarchism is a splendid volume that easily can be recommended to anthropologists and to students. Morris is always provocative, giving us plenty to think about and to debate. I am not an anarchist myself, but if I were going to be one, then I would like to be one like Brian Morris. His writing style is full of insight and it makes for pleasant and easy reading.

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