Extinction Rebellion: Green activism and the fantasy of leaderlessness in a decentralized movement

Marianna Fotaki*, Hamid Foroughi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article interrogates the idea of leadership in a decentralized organization, using Extinction Rebellion (XR) as a case study. Through close observation of this environmental movement, we problematize the notion of leaderless organizations and question whether the idea of a hierarchy- and power-free ‘decentralized organization’ is a fantasmatic endeavour. Psychoanalytic analysis of discussions between XR members following two disruptive actions during XR’s International Rebellion in October 2019 reveals that these actions temporarily provoked members to question the attainability and effectiveness of XR’s so-called ‘leaderless autonomous organization’. This article contributes to psychoanalytic studies of leadership and to the social movements literature and argues that the power relations present in any form of organized endeavour must be recognized in order to develop effective and democratic activism.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalLeadership
Early online date27 Apr 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 27 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • activism
  • Extinction Rebellion
  • fantasy
  • leaderfull
  • leaderless leadership
  • psychoanalysis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Extinction Rebellion: Green activism and the fantasy of leaderlessness in a decentralized movement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this