Prefiguration as a specific idea signposts a strategy towards an empowered, humanized sociality. Prefigurative organizing has come to stand in contrast to traditional, formalized modalities of organization. How participants (should) engage with one another, how their communities discuss and decide on important matters and, ultimately, how they reproduce their community is guided by horizontal, structureless, leaderless (yet leaderful), participatory, solidaristic and diversity-orientated principles. By eschewing formality, bureaucracy and
Auroville in Tamil Nadu, South India, is an internationally recognised endeavour in prefiguring an alternative society: the largest, most diverse, dynamic and enduring of intentional communities worldwide.
This book is a critical and insightful analysis of the utopian practice of this unique spiritual township, by a native scholar. The author explores how Auroville’s founding spiritual and societal ideals are engaged in its communal political and economic organisation, as well as various cultural practices and what enables and sustains this prefiguratively utopian practice.
This in-depth, autoethnographic case-study is an important resource for understanding prefigurative and utopian experiments – their challenges, potentialities, and significance for the advancement of human society.
new societies were prefigured in those that came before. In a sense, prefigurative politics is politics that takes a conscious, deliberate and experimental approach to prefiguring the future. If this is correct, then a successful revolution driven by our current needs to secure a more free, equal, democratic and ecologically sustainable society requires the kinds of prefigurative politics developed by the world’s socialist movements.
In this chapter, I explain how various socialist thinkers and movements have developed and used ideas of prefigurative politics
Fellow-travelling with utopian practice broadens the conceptual and experimental scope of enacting prefiguration and thereby, through multiple avenues, enables prefigurative actors to achieve their goal of transforming societies. Based on auto-ethnographic research in Auroville, India – the largest intentional community in the world – I introduce this potential ‘prefigurative utopianism’ – that is, utopian practice enacted through prefigurative processes. The time is ripe for such an exploration. The utopian is now understood as an anticipatory
are located outside formal political and institutional structures. 2 They often involve collective prefigurative actions that enact in the here and now changes that people want to make happen. He also talks about the contradictions of research and writing on unruly politics being a site of resistance, one that is located within the academic (and in the case of IDS, development) machinery. This is an ambivalent location with which I can identify. We then turn to our neighbours to discuss our own involvement in collective action, and share these experiences with the
Initially defined by Carl Boggs (1977 a, p 100) as ‘the embodiment, within the ongoing political practice of a movement, of those forms of social relations, decision-making, culture, and human experience that are the ultimate goal’, the concept of prefiguration has played an important role in social movement studies for almost half a century (for example, Breines, 1980 ; Epstein, 1991 ; Polletta, 1999 ). However, with the rise of the alter-globalization movement in 1999 and the invention of novel procedures for ensuring what Luke Yates
and exploitative mechanisms. Thus, to transcend capitalism, it is necessary to envision and embody alternative forms of life capable of ‘breaking with the comfort of the familiar’ ( Cole and Ferrarese, 2018 , p 106).
Given this context, this brief chapter aims to outline the role of prefigurative politics in transcending contemporary capitalism and the characteristics that render prefigurative politics – in my view – a necessary (but not sufficient) element of that endeavour. In the next section, I develop this argument by emphasizing that prefiguration entails an
Federici, 2009 ) – the market’s appropriation of non-human ecological systems and local cultural knowledge – everyday life appears to have become a space of resistance.
The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, it aims to understand the interplay between everyday life and prefiguration. It does this by scrutinizing three key facets of everyday life and discussing which type of everyday practices, under which circumstances, can be considered prefigurative – namely, particular utopian practices that not only envision alternative futures but also enact them. Second