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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The fear of freedom, friendship and community, as well as the fetish for sterile, reified, rule-bound relationships drained of all spontaneity and vitality oozes from almost every page. Elites are nothing more and nothing less than a group of friends who also happen to participate in the same political activities.

The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. Many of the DREAM activists identify as queer and seek tyranhy only immigrant tyranng but structurelesxness social justice at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Within the movement it commonly refers to individuals, though the personal characteristics and activities of those to whom it is directed may differ widely: In the author published different versions in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology and in Ms.

If nothing more concrete than personal insight ever resulted from these groups, that did not much matter, because their purpose did not really extend beyond this.

They just take a while to implement. But neither should we blindly reject them all. Wow, someone else who’s read this essay which I agree is a classic. This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority.


The Tyranny Of Structurelessness

This does not mean that its ideas do not spread. Also, to function well the groups must usually pare themselves down to that informal group of friends who were running things in the first place. This is only possible if the group is small and people practically live together for the most crucial phases of the task.

Once the informal patterns are formed they act to maintain themselves, and one of the most successful tactics of maintenance is to continuously recruit new people who “fit in. But I also believe that, as advocates of open, we must constantly be testing ourselves and our assumptions, as well as acknowledging and debating practises and ideas that can help us be more effective.

Since movement groups have made no concrete decisions about who shall exercise power within them, many different criteria are used around the country.

Published by OR Books. A Journal of Desire Armed. Letting people assume jobs or tasks only by default means they are not dependably done. It was then submitted to several movement publications, but only one asked permission to publish it; others did so without permission. It is those groups which are in greatest need of structure that are often least capable of creating it.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness

Because people are friends, because they usually share the same values and orientations, because they talk to each other socially and consult with each other when common decisions have to be made, the people involved in these networks have more power in the group than those who don’t.

Unstructured groups may be very effective in getting women to talk about their lives; they aren’t very good for getting things done. Elites are nothing more, and nothing less, than groups of friends who also happen to participate in the same political activities. Some middle ground between domination and ineffectiveness can and must be found. To do this it must get organized — locally, regionally, and nationally.


But as long as the movement does not select its own spokeswomen, such women will be placed in that role by the press and the public, regardless of their own desires. There is nothing inherently bad about either of these.

As long as friendship groups are the main means of organizational activity, elitism becomes institutionalized. Kennedy School of Government course used the paper in a course on leadership.

Mostly, we will have to experiment with different kinds of structuring and develop a variety of techniques to use for different situations. It is the task that basically structures the group. Its issues are discussed and informal rap groups are formed by people who have no explicit connection with any movement group. People should be given an opportunity to learn skills they structurslessness not have, but this is best done through freemwn sort of “apprenticeship” program rather than the “sink or swim” method.

Beware the tyranny of structurelessness | Beautiful Trouble

An individual, as an individual can never be an elitist, because the only proper tyrwnny of the term “elite” is to groups. The avowedly Unstructured groups have no way of drawing upon the movement’s vast resources to support its priorities. Members’ skills can be equitably available only when members are willing to teach what they know to others.

But they are discernible, and they do have their effect.