Direct Action

An Ethnography

Paperback, 600 pages

Published 2009 by AK Press.

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5 stars (2 reviews)

Direct Action: An Ethnography offers a lengthy, traditional anthropological account of anarchist organizing efforts, with a focus on New York City’s Direct Action Network. For fellow researchers, he addresses the difficulties of using the narrative form and offers tips such as notetaking tools used (spiral notebook and rapidograph, a technical pen that eases hand-writing). Throughout, Graeber recounts the actions taken by the state against protestors, namely, policing and myths disseminated to encourage the frontline police to follow orders. Source

2 editions

Mess of a lovely book

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I admittedly only skimmed over the first section of this book (the ethnography portion). However, I really enjoyed reading the second part. It's not that Graeber goes into anything I didn't already know about punk, anarchist, DIY movements. Instead I think he connects his insights really beautifully to larger concepts and moments in history in a way that is accessible and coherent.

I appreciated how he interrogated moral panics around anarchists and certain ill conceived stereotypes as well as certain contradictions and paradox's within the movement.

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