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Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.106
Mutual aid revisited
This paper considers the theoretical possibilities of the Kropotkian notion of “mutual aid”, when applied to current anthropological debates on interspecies and other relationships. Although coined for a dated debate with darwinism, the notion was fruitful not only for contemporary anarchist social theory, but also for anthropological theory, be it the contemporary evolutionism of Lewis Morgan, or the ulterior approach of C.Lévi-Strauss to interspecies interaction. Springing from Romantic radicalism, Kropotkin’s conceptualisation presupposed two crucial correlate premises: the social and solidaire character of all interactions intra and inter-species; and the sentient life network in a hazardous natural world. Parallel to Rousseau’s pieté, mutual aid or solidarity broke through species or other barriers, extendable to sentient life as a whole. Thus, the sentient living being is at the analytical core of Kropotkian theory - a definition which is worth retrieving to address the present dilemmas of the discipline.