The role of intellectuals and academic workers within the anarchist movement is, as Nathan Jun notes, ‘famously ambiguous’. Historically, anarchists have been skeptical of universities, ‘which they tended to regard, rightly, as ancillaries of the existing social, political and economic order’ (Jun, 2012). Many contemporary anarchists would agree with Stevphen Shukaitis (2009) that anarchism ‘cannot find a home in such a space without betraying itself’, for ‘how can one maintain any sense of ethical commitment to non-hierarchal, non-exploitative relationships in a space that operates against many of these political ideals?’
Yet, of all the institutional trappings of life as a salaried academic, I want to suggest that peer review is perhaps the least problematic from an anarchist perspective. This is not to say that peer review processes are unproblematic, nor even that it is entirely clear what we mean when we refer to ‘peer review’. Over the past few months, I have taken part in several processes that could be defined as ‘peer review’, and it may be worthwhile reflecting on them.
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