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The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  231 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
“The very notion of the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human.” With this succinct formulation, Murray Bookchin launches his most ambitious work, The Ecology of Freedom. An engaging and extremely readable book of breathtaking scope, its inspired synthesis of ecology, anthropology and political theory traces our conflicting legaci ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by AK Press (first published 1982)
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Alex
Aug 07, 2009 Alex rated it really liked it
Murray Bookchin (R.I.P., 2006) was one of the most important American theorists of the 20th century. He is most known for pioneering and promoting 'social ecology,' which holds that "the domination of nature by [hu:]man stems from the domination of human by human." In other words, the only way to resolve the ecological crisis is to create a free and democratic society.

The Ecology of Freedom is one of Bookchin's classic works, in which he not only outlines social ecology, but exposes hierarchy, "
...more
Chuck
Oct 02, 2008 Chuck rated it really liked it
This is the most comprehensive and developed attempt to theorize an anarchist perspective since Kropotkin's Mutual Aid. Although particular chapters or passages may seem dated or problemtic in various ways, its important to stay focused on Bookchin's overall project, which was deeply radical and utopian.

RIP, Murray.
andrahne
Sep 19, 2015 andrahne rated it it was amazing
Not easy to read, but you should do if you want to grasp relation between domination and ecology. And more about hierarchy, ethics, politics..

You may prefer Remaking Society, shorter and easier book to start social ecology of Bookchin.
Dimos Kifokeris
Aug 03, 2016 Dimos Kifokeris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1982, The ecology of freedom is Murray Bookchin's (1921-2006) magnum opus, central in its author's philosophical and political output. Along with Our synthetic environment (1962), Post-scarcity anarchism (1971) and The philosophy of social ecology: essays on dialectical naturalism (1990), it forms the basic quadruple of an otherwise large literary body of work. This work established (even posthumously) Bookchin as one of the most influential philosophers and political scientists of ...more
Patrick
Dec 16, 2016 Patrick rated it really liked it
Only got up to the third chapter, on the development of hierarchy, but there was value enough just in those 150 pages. Bookchin offers a surprising synthesis of ideas that get at the core of what capitalism is practically like, where it comes from, and what it would mean for us to have something better. Dated in places, but the philosophy that Bookchin puts forth is both radical and coherent. I particularly appreciated his rejection of the trap of primitivism, and it's less extreme relatives (an ...more
Lena
Jan 15, 2017 Lena rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book because its title includes two things that interest me: ecology and freedom. I got through a few chapters and then gave up. Bookchin has a potentially interesting idea, that men dominating nature predisposes them to dominate women and each other. But his writing style is dull and uninspired, and I had to drag myself from line to line in order to read further.
Loránd Szakács
Murray Bookchin elaborately argues that the ecological problems facing humanity are inextricably linked to the emergence of hierarchy, and the domination of human by human. In the first ten chapters the author tries to reconstruct—via anthropological evidence—the emergence of hierarchy, while contrasting that with all the social movements that tried to retain a radical libertarian of society. I will let the author's words best describe this first part of the book:

Up to now, I have had to define
...more
Javier
Jul 20, 2007 Javier rated it it was amazing
Besides Edward Said's Orientalism, The Ecology of Freedom is the most exciting and fascinating book I've read in a long time.

Bookchin here promotes his idea of social ecology and his vision of an ecological society (and world). He takes issue with so-called environmentalist movements, which, like the psychotherapist that Herbert Marcuse roundly criticizes, seek merely to have society adapt to the madness of extant structures rather than promote radical change, as social ecology advocates. He
...more
Dylan
May 14, 2011 Dylan rated it really liked it
This was a challenge for me to complete, but I'm glad I did. In retrospect, it seems largely composed of long, detailed tangents strung together thematically as historical evidence for Bookchin's ideas about the history of civilization. That's what I mean when I say I found it difficult. In the same way, Mumford's Technics and Human Development became a bog of historical detail. That should probably be attributed more to my preferences than the authors' deficiencies, however.

Bookchin sees two cu
...more
Dave
Aug 06, 2015 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I say anything I have to admit that I didn't read this very carefully. I got through the first third or so, felt like I had a pretty good feel for what he was going for and basically just skimmed through the rest. He just has such a pedantic, wordy style of writing and I've already spent so much time listening to people like this that I didn't have the patience. That said, I do like a lot of what he advocates: bioregionalism, human-scale, support and respect for primitive/indigenous cultu ...more
Dayton
Jul 20, 2015 Dayton rated it it was amazing
I don't agree with Bookchin on everything, but he asks the right questions and pursues the right trains of thought. The book's an incredibly expansive journey through human history that—while for all I know some of his anthropology is bogus and/or outdated, and certainly some of his biology is—takes seriously what was good about preliterate societies while also hoping to learn from the misadventure called "civilization" and move forward into something distinct from both hunter/gatherer primitivi ...more
James
May 31, 2008 James rated it liked it
I know everyone loves this book, but I've tried to read it several times now and I can't make it through because of the thick academic language. The chapters I've read though makes a good argument that a lot of how humans view nature comes from the cultures we come from, like in ants where people think of the Queen Ant as the ruler, when in fact ants act more communally and on instinct rather than through orders or anything like that (the queen produces the babies.)
Artur Matos
Mar 09, 2015 Artur Matos rated it liked it
I love Bookchin's ideas but this book is a drag to read. Too many tangents - that don't really add anything to his arguments - and an overly heavy and repetitive style don't make this enjoyable at all. It's a pity, as his ideas are extremely interesting but this should have been heavily edited when it was published.
Nicole
Nov 30, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it
i really wanted to like this book. it has some interesting themes and a general ideology i'm down with. but it's actually way too long and the writing style is quite dense. a lot of the material seems somewhat tangential to the overall topic as well (there's a lot of religious history in this book). there are some good points made throughout this book, but i can't say i'd recommend reading it.
Hafidha
Apr 30, 2009 Hafidha marked it as to-read
This book is not an easy read, but I'd like to get through some of the chapters, namely: the concept of social ecology, the emergence of hierarchy, epistemologies of rule, legacy of domination, two images of technology, and the ambiguities of freedom.
Brandon
A powerful exploration of more than just social and political theory, but of the philosophies of nature, technology and consciousness as well.
Nik Bramblett
Oct 01, 2014 Nik Bramblett rated it really liked it
skimmed for research paper... useful, but dated... need to apply some critical thinking to apply it to current situations...
Benjamin J.
Feb 17, 2015 Benjamin J. rated it really liked it
This book is IT. A modern classic. Bookchin answers so many questions, specifically, how did our society get to be the way it is.
Josh
Oct 15, 2008 Josh rated it it was amazing
It gives a perspective of humanity that is essential for our day to day understanding. Where do we come from? Where are we going? Thanks Murray.
Peter
Apr 27, 2013 Peter rated it really liked it
Ett av de få försöken att empiriskt, det vill säga med stöd av exempelvis etnografiskt material, beskriva statens uppkomst. Kanske inte helt lyckat, men en eloge för ambitionen!
Joe
Joe rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2016
Sarah Cornell
Apr 06, 2016 Sarah Cornell rated it really liked it
Dense text, but very, very interesting.
Rallie
Rallie rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2015
John
John rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2015
Barnaby Hazen
Barnaby Hazen rated it it was amazing
Apr 30, 2016
Arthur
Arthur rated it liked it
Mar 24, 2010
Jerry Mooney
Jerry Mooney rated it it was amazing
Sep 19, 2014
Kadu
Kadu rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2015
Chuck
Chuck rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2007
Marek Vermin
Marek Vermin rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2011
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Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. In the late 1990s he became disenchanted with the ...more
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