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The Art of Not Being Governed : An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia - James C. Scott

The Art of Not Being Governed

An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia


Published: 30th November 2010
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For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround themslavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an anarchist history, is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless.

Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states. In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination.

He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of internal colonialism. This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scotts work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen.

About the Author

Received his bachelor's degree from Williams College and his MA and PhD (1967) from Yale. He taught at the University of Wisconsin–Madison until 1976, when he returned to Yale. Now Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression.

Scott lives in Connecticut, where he raises sheep.

"'Scott's panoramic view will no doubt enthrall many readers... one doesn't have to see like a Zomian nor pretend to be an anarchist to appreciate the many insights in James Scott's book.' Grant Evans, Times Literary Supplement"

Prefacep. ix
Hills, Valleys, and States: An Introduction to Zomiap. 1
State Space: Zones of Governance and Appropriationp. 40
Concentrating Manpower and Grain: Slavery and Irrigated Ricep. 64
Civilization and the Unrulyp. 98
Keeping the State at a Distance: The Peopling of the Hillsp. 127
State Evasion, State Prevention: The Culture and Agriculture of Escapep. 178
Orality, Writing, and Textsp. 220
Ethnogenesis: A Radical Constructionist Casep. 238
Prophets of Renewalp. 283
Conclusionp. 324
Notesp. 339
Glossaryp. 407
Indexp. 415
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780300169171
ISBN-10: 0300169175
Series: Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 464
Published: 30th November 2010
Publisher: Yale University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.7  x 3.1
Weight (kg): 0.59