The Prefigurative Is Political: On Politics Beyond 'The State'

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


In order to make sense of contemporary prefigurative movements and their transformative potential, we need a more expansive notion of politics and a more nuanced understanding of ‘the state’ than that found in most North American social movement theory. In this chapter, Brissette traces critics’ failure to register the political nature of prefigurative politics to an underlying conceptual framework that defines politics in relation to existing state structures and reifies the state as a bounded entity distinct from society. Drawing on Marx’s theorization of the state as abstraction to contest this reification, Brissette locates the political nature of prefigurative movements in the process of constituting collective life as a community-in-freedom beyond the state.

Original Citation

Brissette, E. (2016). The Prefigurative Is Political: On Politics Beyond ‘The State’. In A.C. Dinerstine (Ed.), Social Sciences for an Other Politics: Women Theorizing Without Parachutes (pp. 109-119). [S.l.]: Springer International Publishing. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47776-3_8


doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-47776-3_8