Seeing Like a State : How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed - James C. Scott

Seeing Like a State

How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

By: James C. Scott

Paperback | 12 May 2020 | Edition Number 1

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"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades."- John Gray, New York Times Book Review
 
Hailed as "a magisterial critique of top-down social planning" by the New York Times, this essential work analyses disasters from Russia to Tanzania to uncover why states so often fail- sometimes catastrophically- in grand efforts to engineer their society or their environment, and uncovers the conditions common to all such planning disasters.
 
"Beautifully written, this book calls into sharp relief the nature of the world we now inhabit."- New Yorker
 
"A tour de force."- Charles Tilly, Columbia University
Industry Reviews
"A magisterial critique of top-down social planning that has been cited, and debated, by the free-market libertarians of the Cato Institute (which recently dedicated an issue of its online journal to the book), development economists, and partisans of Occupy Wall Street alike."-Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times

"Illuminating and beautifully written, this book calls into sharp relief the nature of the world we now inhabit."-New Yorker

"Scott's learning is formidable, but his prose is witty and down-to-earth. His approach is less that of an academic expert offering explanations from on high than of an explorer nimbly navigating a rugged patch of conceptual and historical ground."-A. O. Scott, New York Times

"One of the most profound and illuminating studies of this century to have been published in recent decades. . . . A fascinating interpretation of the growth of the modern state. . . . Scott presents a formidable argument against using the power of the state in an attempt to reshape the whole of society."-John Gray, New York Times Book Review

"Seeing Like a State is an important work. It will, I believe, be used widely in university courses and by a wider reading public who seek to understand the broad contours of our recent history."-Jane Adams, Rural History



"To my mind, Seeing Like a State is one of the most stimulating and ambitious synthetic works of recent years."-John Agar, British Journal for the History of Science



Winner of the 2000 Mattei Dogan Award


2015 Wildavsky Award for Enduring Contribution to Policy Studies, from the Public Policy Section of the American Political Science Association

"James Scott is one of the most original and interesting social scientists whom I know. So it is no surprise that Seeing Like a State is a broad ranging, theoretically important, and empirically grounded treatment of the modern state. For anyone interested in learning about this fundamental tension of modernity and about the destruction wrought in the twentieth century as a consequence of the dominant development ideology of the simplifying state, high modernism, Seeing Like a State is a must read."-Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard University and author of Hitler's Willing Executioners

"A broad-ranging, theoretically important, and empirically grounded treatment of the modern state and its propensity to simplify and make legible a society which by nature is complex and opaque. For anyone interested in learning about this fundamental tension of modernity and about the destruction wrought in the twentieth century as a consequence of the dominant development ideology of the simplifying state, this is a must-read."-Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, author of Hitler's Willing Executioners



"The 'perfection' Scott so rightly and with such tremendous skill and erudition debunks in his book he himself has nearly reached, as far as positing and presenting the problem is concerned. The case of what the order-crazy mind is capable of doing and why we need to stop it from doing it has been established 'beyond any reasonable doubt' and with a force that cannot be strengthened."-Zygmunt Bauman, emeritus professor, University of Leeds

"Stunning insights, an original position, and a conceptual approach of global application. Scott's book will at once take its place among the decade's truly seminal contributions to comparative politics."-M. Crawford Young, University of Wisconsin, Madison

"A tour de force. . . . Reading the book delighted and inspired me. It's not the first time Jim Scott has had that effect."-Charles Tilly, Columbia University

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