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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Structuerlessness inevitably limits group participants to about five, or excludes some from some of the decisions. Selecting someone for a position because they are liked by the group or giving them hard work because they are disliked serves neither the group nor the person in the long run. It is rarely used correctly.

The Tyranny of Structurelessness – Wikipedia

This is how the group has control over people in positions of authority. Thanks structurelewsness telling us about the problem. Jun 11, Matthew Funke rated it really liked it.

It early defined its main goal, and its main method, as consciousness-raising, and the “structureless” rap group was an excellent means to this end.

A member who maintains a monopoly over a needed resource like a printing press owned by a husband, or a darkroom can unduly influence the use of that resource.

Such attacks only result in either the woman leaving the movement entirely-often bitterly alienated — or in her ceasing to feel responsible to her “sisters. 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.

Once the movement no longer clings tenaciously to the ideology of “structurelessness,” it is free to develop those forms of organization best suited to its healthy functioning.

It is the coincidence of these two phenomena which creates elites in any groups and makes them so difficult to break. Structured will refer to those which have. While there’s no official power structure, certain people inevitably participate more, are more aggressive and so on.

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. The press put them there and only the press can choose not to listen. For those groups which cannot find a local project to which to devote themselves, the mere act of staying together becomes the reason for their staying together.


J-B rated it liked it Jan 26, They will not be in such an easy position to institutionalize their power because ultimate decisions will be made by the group at large. Letting people assume jobs or tasks only by default means they are not dependably done.

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The power relations Freeman demystifies are salient today, and I would argue even more so in an environment where feminist and queer social movements increasingly organize online. Neither the movement as a whole nor most of the multitudinous ffeeman within it have established a means of explaining their position on various issues. Eventually, she will most likely bring you into the inner circle.

The tge groups’ vested interests will be sustained by the informal structures which exist, and the movement will have no way of determining who shall exercise power within it.

By purging a sister as a “star,” the movement loses whatever control it may have had over the person who then becomes free to commit all of the individualistic sins of which she has been accused. Evan rated it really liked it Sep 12, Their influence is not based on what they do for the group; therefore they cannot be directly influenced by the group.

Retrieved from ” https: Conversely, being blacklisted from doing what one can do well does not encourage one to develop one’s skills.

I believe in open, transparency and in lightest structures possible for a task. I referenced it at the time in a comment on the apparent belief by the Linden Labs strucgurelessness and others that Second Life didn’t need any up-front formal governance, but rather that SL residents could and would just magically come up with some sort of resident-led governance structure ytranny their own.

Me when I start my cinema club: The more unstructured a movement it, the less control it has over the directions in which it develops and the political actions in ths it engages.

And while many open source projects can be forked, practically doing so is sometimes difficult. Remember me on this computer. Insofar as they can be applied individually they may be acted on; insofar as they require coordinated political power to be implemented, they will not be.

Any individual, structurelessnrss of how well-known that person may be, can never be tyranjy elite. The more Unstructured a group is, the more lacking it is in informal structures, and the more it adheres to an ideology of “structurelessness,” the more vulnerable it is to being taken freemwn by a group of political comrades.


In a Structured group, two or more such friendship networks usually compete with each other for formal power. In the meantime, check out the latest version of our toolkit at beautifulrising.

The Tyranny Of Structurelessness

She suggests the lot system, which has been used by informal anarchist groups many tyranyn historically. But that should not blind us to the other risk — the danger outlined above by Freeman for feminists in She did participate in the Berkeley Free Speech Movement long ago.

The informal structure is rarely together enough or in touch enough with the people to structurelessmess able to operate effectively. If people are selected to do a task, preferably after expressing an interest or willingness to do it, they have made a commitment which cannot so easily be ignored. This is something I have witnessed both within an open source community and at an unconference. The group of people in positions of authority will be diffuse, flexible, open, and temporary.

But in her mind the ever-present, looming dangers of small, informal groups always dwarf the minimal problems that so rarely pop up in formal organizations like political parties! Dmitry Groshev rated it it was amazing Mar 10, These women represent no particular group fresman established thd they know this and usually say so.

The Tyranny Of Structurelessness by Jo Freeman

frseman This has two potentially negative consequences of which we should be aware. Within the movement it commonly refers to individuals, though the personal characteristics and activities of those to whom it is directed may differ widely: This is not always perfectly possible, but should be striven for.

All of the major horrible, pernicious dynamics that arise inevitably out Despite being almost 50 years old and freean 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.

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