City of purposes: free life and libertarian activism in London

  1. Adam Reed*

Article first published online: 29 JAN 2015

DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.12152

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Volume 21Issue 1pages 181–198March 2015


This essay looks at the ideas and practice of libertarian activists in London. It focuses on the value placed on purposefulness, and on the city as the terrain for a free life. These libertarians’ activism is explored through an engagement with the centrality of ‘freedom’ in the emergent anthropology of ethics, and by reference to alternative theories of power or action. In particular, attention falls on the challenge of representing subjects who seem to embody and profess overly familiar theories of individual freedom and responsibility. The essay is meant as a contribution to political and urban anthropology, and the ethnography of Britain.

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