Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
  • Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
  • Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

by James C. Scott
     
 

ISBN-10: 0300078153

ISBN-13: 9780300078152

Pub. Date: 02/28/1999

Publisher: Yale University Press

In this wide-ranging and original book, James C. Scott analyzes failed cases of large-scale authoritarian plans in a variety of fields. He argues that centrally managed social plans derail when they impose schematic visions that do violence to complex interdependencies that are not -- and cannot be -- fully understood. Further the success of designs for social…  See more details below

Overview

In this wide-ranging and original book, James C. Scott analyzes failed cases of large-scale authoritarian plans in a variety of fields. He argues that centrally managed social plans derail when they impose schematic visions that do violence to complex interdependencies that are not -- and cannot be -- fully understood. Further the success of designs for social organization depends on the recognition that local, practical knowledge is as important as formal, epistemic knowledge. The author builds a persuasive case against "development theory" and imperialistic state planning that disregards the values, desires, and objections of its subjects. And in discussing these planning disasters, he identifies four conditions common to them all: the state's attempt to impose administrative order on nature and society; a high-modernist ideology that believes scientific intervention can improve every aspect of human life; a willingness to use authoritarian state power to effect large-scale innovations; and a prostrate civil society that cannot effectively resist such plans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300078152
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/28/1999
Series:
The Institution for Social and Policy St
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
147,927
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Pt. 1State Projects of Legibility and Simplification9
Ch. 1Nature and Space11
Ch. 2Cities, People, and Language53
Pt. 2Transforming Visions85
Ch. 3Authoritarian High Modernism87
Ch. 4The High-Modernist City: An Experiment and a Critique103
Ch. 5The Revolutionary Party: A Plan and a Diagnosis147
Pt. 3The Social Engineering of Rural Settlement and Production181
Ch. 6Soviet Collectivization, Capitalist Dreams193
Ch. 7Compulsory Villagization in Tanzania: Aesthetics and Miniaturization223
Ch. 8Taming Nature: An Agriculture of Legibility and Simplicity262
Pt. 4The Missing Link307
Ch. 9Thin Simplifications and Practical Knowledge: Metis309
Ch. 10Conclusion342
Notes359
Sources for Illustrations433
Index435

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