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Problems of Research on Radicals (or Anarchist Movement Epistemology)

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Chapter Summary

Although movements are now routine research subjects for sociologists, some movements offer particularly complicated, contradictory, or counter-intuitive characteristics that befuddle scholars and impede scholarship. This chapter explores these problems of epistemology the means by which one knows something in order to further the quest to better understand the anarchist movement. In doing so, it tackles sticky issues of definition, the hurdles that stand in the way of studying anarchists, and the factors which make the aforementioned epistemological problems more formidable for anarchism than for most other movements. The matters discussed in this chapter could help conventional scholars to focus their research questions, properly operationalize their variables, define appropriate sampling frames, design and administer surveys, or even locate and navigate an anarchist scene ethnographically. The chapter is of value to journalists, whether mainstream news reporters, college newspaper editors, web-bloggers, or zine writers.

Keywords: administer surveys; anarchist movement; counter-intuitive characteristics; epistemology; sociologists; web-bloggers; zine writers



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