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American Wild Zones

Space, Experience, Consciousness

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Edited By Jerzy Kamionowski and Jacek Partyka

The contributors understand the wild zone as denoting the existence and experience of a group (ethnic, social, sub-cultural, sexual, religious, etc.) which is/was marginalized in American society. Reaching far beyond the boundaries of original agenda (Edwin Ardener’s and Elaine Showalter’s), the term’s applicability has been significantly enlarged. Its fluidity or fuzziness, however, ought to be taken as a blessing: in the rapidly changing contemporary («liquid») world it is the language that needs to keep up with new circumstances and developments, not the other way round.
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Conspiracy of Faith on the Margins of Empire: Christian Anarchism as a “Wild Zone” in Post-Countercultural America

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← 258 | 259 →Małgorzata Poks

At first sight, anarchism and Christianity do not seem to fit well. The main point of contention is the anarchist slogan “no God, no Master.” Moreover, the anarchist idea of a stateless, non-hierarchical society governed by voluntary institutions seems to exclude affiliation with institutional churches, while many Christian anarchists do consider themselves members of a particular church.1 Finally, there is also the issue of means and ends: some anarchists embrace nonviolence as the only legitimate means of struggle for a better world, while others admit the use of violence. A Christian anarchist, on the other hand, is committed to radical nonviolence, the “turning of the other cheek” if need be, even loving the oppressor (while hating the evil he or she does) and praying for the oppressor’s salvation. While these are valid points, and while there is a great deal of mutual distrust between Christians and anarchists, when God is seen as the principle of love, not compulsion, and when churches struggle to fulfil their role of prophetic critics of power structures rather than becoming hierarchical power structures themselves, the tension dissolves. Christian anarchism becomes a viable position.

“There can … be a lot of ways ‘Christianity’ is interpreted, and equally there are many facets to … ‘anarchism.’ But one way or the other, Christian anarchism holds the view that, properly understood, what Jesus calls us to in the political sphere is some form of anarchism” (“An Introduction to Christian Anarchism”). This is...

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