Joint: Dr Stephen Dunne
Thomas gained his undergraduate MA in Philosophy from the University of Glasgow in 2008, spending one year at Charles University, Prague. In 2010 he graduated cum laude from the Research Masters programme in philosophy from Radboud University, Nijmegen with a dissertation on the question of human nature in classical anarchism. He spent a year working as a freelance copy-editor and proof-reader before beginning his PhD at the School of Management in 2011.
Thomas’ research interests include anarchist and autonomist political thought, and especially the accounts of ethics and organisation contained therein. In this regard, he is interested in the role of practical virtue ethics in the decision making processes in anarchist and autonomist social centres. Thomas is also keen to look into the organisational principles and practices of contemporary social uprisings including the 2011 riots in the UK, the global occupy movement and the Arab Spring. This work has brought him into contact with organisational cybernetics and he is currently working on frameworks of organisation practice that use social media to transmit information.
Thomas’ PhD dissertation will examine how anarchist social practice theory (as outlined by Benjamin Franks) can be applied in helping to frame the decision making that goes on in anarchist and autonomist social centres. Theoretically, this work involves discussions around the issue of ethical realism and the challenges posed to it. Practically, it will mean empirical work looking at how those involved in social centres in the Netherlands conceive of their work in ethical terms.
Swann, T. (2010) ‘Can Franks’ Practical Anarchism Avoid Moral Relativism?’, Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies, 1(1): 199-215.
Swann, T. (2010) ‘Are Postanarchists Right to Call Classical Anarchisms “Humanist”?’ in B. Franks and M. Wilson (eds) Anarchism and Moral Philosophy, London: Palgrave, 226-242.
2011 (forthcoming): ‘”If you take Frodo Baggins from Lord of the Rings and give him a mobile phone, the story ends very differently”: Social Media, Organisation Cybernetics and Non-hierarchical Organisation’, to be presented to the Riot, Revolt, Revolution conference organised by the CAPPE. The conference will be held at the University of Brighton on the 5th, 6th and 7th of September 2011.
2009: ‘Anarchism, Marxism and “Humanism”’, presented to the Is Black and Red Dead? conference organised by the Anarchist Studies Network and PSA Marxism Specialist Group. The conference was held at the University of Nottingham on the 7th and 8th of September 2009.
2009: ‘Anarchism and “Humanism”’, presented to the Workshops in Political Theory, Sixth Annual Conference. The conference was held at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of September 2009.
Co-organised the stream on anarchism and critical management studies at the Anarchist Studies Network conference held at the University of Loughborough September 2011.