JBSP Online: Bryan Smyth – ‘Rethinking Spontaneism’ – On Rosa Luxemburg

journal update

Now online, a new article for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology by Bryan Smyth (University of Mississippi).

Bryan Smyth – “Rethinking Spontaneism: Rosa Luxemburg, Skilful Expertise, and the Politics of Habit”

JBSP (Received 06 Feb 2023, Accepted 18 Jul 2023, Published online: 30 Aug 2023).

Abstract: Rosa Luxemburg defended a view of spontaneism as a way of according strategic priority to popular initiatives over the directives of vanguard parties. But she never worked out a theory of spontaneism, and consequently it has typically been dismissed as lacking solid grounds. In this paper, I take an initial step toward rehabilitating spontaneism by rethinking its assumptions concerning historical agency in embodied habitual terms. After first outlining Luxemburg’s view of spontaneism itself, I consider individual embodied action and focus on the sort of spontaneity that is exhibited in various forms of skilled expertise. This spontaneity reflects an acquired habitual predispositionality that is never a matter of mindless automaticity, and which in certain cases can involve significant degrees of improvisational creativity. Bringing this to light secures a basic plausibility for spontaneism at the level of individual agency by showing how socially transformative action could possibly be engaged in spontaneously.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2023.2240406

Bryan Smyth, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Mississippi, University, MS, USA

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