One of the most important common factors that Scott found in these schemes is what he refers to as a high modernist ideology. In simplest terms, it is an extremely firm belief that progress can and will make the world a better place. But "scientific" theories about the betterment of life often fail to take into account "the indispensable role of practical knowledge, informal processes, and improvisation in the face of unpredictability" that Scott views as essential to an effective society. What high modernism lacks is metis, a Greek word which Scott translates as "the knowledge that can only come from practical experience." Although metis is closely related to the concept of "mutuality" found in the anarchist writings of, among others, Kropotkin and Bakunin, Scott is careful to emphasize that he is not advocating the abolition of the state or championing a complete reliance on natural "truth." He merely recognizes that some types of states can initiate programs which jeopardize the well-being of all their subjects.
Although the collapse of most socialist governments might lead one to believe that Seeing Like a State is old news, Scott's analysis should prove extremely useful to those considering the effects of global capitalism on local communities. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This is one of the most brilliant and inspiring books that I've read in a long time.
The first chapter of "Seeing like a State" is a brilliant tour de force of how James C. Scott approaches his thesis and his method for analyzing it.
Thanks to the professor who let us learn this book and I am now looking forward to read more of Scott.
Full of insightful observations, but I wish he had swapped out the lengthy middle section explaining why the Soviet collectives were a massive, hubristic failure (oh really! Read morePublished 3 months ago by Raja Raghunath
This is the most Hayekian, anti-planning, "decision-making works better when it is decentralized" book I have ever read. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joe Green
The first chapter of "Seeing like a State" is a brilliant tour de force of how James C. Scott approaches his thesis and his method for analyzing it. Read morePublished 6 months ago by ewaffle
This book is ok, but reading Foucault's Security, Territory and Population is much better. The arguments in this book are not that new.Published 6 months ago by madvivacious
James Scott has written a masterpiece on the unintended consequences of a powerful state (i.e. government) undertaking huge social, agricultural or architectural reforms. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Book Fiend
Scott convincingly uses concrete and specific case studies to argue against top-down, rationalist-scientific projects of improvement, often leftward-leaning. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Johnicholas Hines
In this work, James C. Scott is attempting to evaluate high modernist ideology and how it has been implemented through various projects. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Jessica Mosley
Anyone familiar with George Stigler's capture theories will appreciate Scott's effort to get "inside the mind" of the bureaucratic state. Read morePublished 19 months ago by FogCity