Scott’s State

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For more than thirty years James C. Scott has been a towering and radical analyst of Malaysia, of Southeast Asia and of agrarian societies around the world. His work should speak to us loudly today for his abiding concern has been how subaltern groups resist dominance – above all the dominance of the state. From The Moral Economy of the Peasant (1979) to his pioneering Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (1985) focusing on Kedah; from Seeing Like a State (1998) to The Art of Not Being Governed (2009), he has provided some of the most imaginative renderings of people’s everyday struggles. And his recent Two Cheers for Anarchism (2012) in which he aims “to show is that if you put on anarchist glasses and look at the history of popular movements, revolutions, ordinary politics, and the state from that angle, certain insights will appear that are obscured from almost any other angle”. Essential reading.

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Charis Loke
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