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Jo Freeman’s seminal essay “The Tyranny of Structurelessness” put a name to the persistent problem that plagues decision makers in non-hierarchical . Title: The Tyranny of Structurelessness. Series: General and According to Jo Freeman, “This piece spread all over the world. Numerous people have edited. Structurelessness Jillian Báez WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, Volume 41, Numbers 3 & 4, Fall/Winter , pp. (Article) Published by The.

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May 06, jessicamax stein rated it it was amazing. These new informal elites are often perceived as threats feeman the old informal elites previously developed within different movement groups. We cannot decide whether to have a structured or structureless group, only whether or not to have a formally structured one.

It empowers participants by structureleseness elites to constantly ensure that community members and not just the elites are engaged or risk losing them. There are as many organizational structures as there are philosophies of collective action.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness – Wikipedia

If no one knows anyone else very well, then one must deliberately form friendships with a select number and establish the informal interaction patterns crucial to the creation of an informal structure. However, as any anarchist knows, libertarian organizations can structurelesssness have accomplished everything necessary for individuals and communities to live in off, egalitarian, convivial societies — both long-term in hunting and gathering communities and more transitorily in modern revolutionary periods.

Bonanno John Zerzan Bob Black. Notoriety is not a definition of an elitist. Articles containing Spanish-language text.

When undocumented mother Elvira Arellano took sanctuary in a church in Chicago from to she received a considerable amount of press coverage in local media the Chicago Tribune and national media CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.

People would try to use the “structureless” group and the informal conference for purposes for which they were unsuitable out of a blind belief that no other means could possibly be anything but oppressive. In the case of the immigrant rights movement, a few individuals are iconic in both mainstream news and social media, in contrast to the multifaceted segments of the movement.

Contributed by Josh Bolotsky. It also gives many people the opportunity to have responsibility for specific tasks and thereby to learn different skills. It would be bad enough if structurelessness merely led to bruised feelings and longer meetings, but there is a further problem: In any profession or organization these networks have created the “locker room” mentality and the “old school” ties which have effectively prevented women as a group as well as some men individually from having equal access to the sources of power or social reward.


Remember me on this computer. If the movement continues to keep power as diffuse as possible because it knows it cannot demand responsibility from those who have it, it does prevent any group or person from totally dominating. We live in a society which expects structurelesaness groups to make decisions and to select people to articulate teh decisions to the public at large. This can even be by dictate — but my sense is that whatever the structure, it needs to be widely understood by those involved so they can choose, at a minimum, to opt out or fork if they do not agree.

Such informal structures can do very useful things But only Unstructured groups are totally governed by them.

Any individual, regardless of how well-known that person may be, can never be an elite. Log In Sign Up. The characteristics prerequisite for participating in the informal elites of the movement, and thus for exercising power, concern one’s background, personality, or allocation of time.

Successful groups can be as large as 10 or 15, but only when they are in fact composed of several smaller subgroups which perform specific parts of the task, and whose members overlap with each other so that knowledge of what the different subgroups are doing can be passed around easily.

Beautiful Trouble

Retrieved February 17, I believe in open, transparency and in lightest structures possible for a task. Sadly there jk much commentary I assume there is in structurelessnwss Geowanking threadbut I do not have an account.

Those who do not know the rules and are not chosen for initiation must remain in confusion, or suffer from paranoid delusions that something is happening of which they are not quite aware. They listen more attentively, and interrupt less; they repeat each other’s points and give in amiably; they tend to ignore or grapple with the “outs” whose approval is not necessary for making a decision.

Beware the tyranny of structurelessness | Beautiful Trouble

Consequently, because the larger movement in most cities is as unstructured as individual rap groups, it is not too much more effective than the separate groups at specific tasks. And it is a rare group that does not establish some informal networks of communication through the friends that are made in it. A “laissez faire” group is about as realistic as a “laissez faire” society; the idea becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.

If the movement is to grow beyond these elementary stages of development, it will have to disabuse itself of some of its prejudices about organization and structure.


Their influence is not based on what they do for the group; therefore they cannot be directly influenced by the group. Knowing how to behave is itself not unimportant. But because there are no official spokespeople nor structureldssness decision-making body that the press can query when it wants to know the movement’s position on a subject, these women are perceived as the spokespeople.

Apr 29, Aaliyah Kf rated it it was amazing Shelves: In my memory, the point was, yeah, sometimes you can wind up with tyranny despite your efforts to avoid it through structureless, but come on, that’s not an argument for just going with tyranny from the start! Its function is very narrow and very specific, like putting on a conference or putting out a newspaper.

Neither the movement as a whole nor most of the multitudinous groups within it have established a means of explaining joo position on various issues. However, as Hilary Wainwright wrote in Z MagazineFreeman described how “this apparent lack of structure too often disguised an informal, unacknowledged and unaccountable leadership that was all the more pernicious because its very tyrznny was denied. Garrick Jannene rated it it was amazing Sep 22, By this metric a complete jerk who contributes great code but possibly turns dozens if not wtructurelessness of other coders off of the project could become more valued then a less effective contributor who helps new coders become more effective contributors.

Structurelessness, feminism and open: what open advocates can learn from second wave feminists

But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. As we well know, these efforts have not prevented the informal male-only networks from discriminating against women, but they have made it more difficult. All of the major horrible, pernicious dynamics that arise inevitably out Despite being almost 50 years old and from a different country, this essay speaks with almost terrifying accuracy to my experience and that of many others organising in various groups in the Auckland left up until about a year ago.

While working in this kind of group is a very heady experience, it is also rare and very hard to replicate. But this style of organization has its limits; it is politically inefficacious, exclusive, and discriminatory against those women who are not or cannot structurelessnesss tied into the friendship networks.