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The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia

by: James C. Scott

Publisher: Yale University Press (2009)

$25.00

Staff Pick by comrade: Bo

Scott details an immense amount of hard data to back his interpretation of the Zomia peoples of South East Asia as intentionally evading States while preventing them from developing within their communities. His research is accessible for anyone who wishes to learn about cultures that renounce civilization!

FortwothousandyearsthedisparategroupsthatnowresideinZomiaamountainousregionthesizeofEuropethatconsistsofportionsofsevenAsiancountrieshavefledtheprojectsoftheorganizedstatesocietiesthatsurroundthem?slavery,conscription,taxes,corv�elabor,epidemics,andwarfare.Thisbook,essentiallyan?anarchisthistory,�isthefirsteverexaminationofthehugeliteratureonstatemakingwhoseauthorevaluateswhypeoplewoulddeliberatelyandreactivelyremainstateless.AmongthestrategiesemployedbythepeopleofZomiatoremainstatelessarephysicaldispersioninruggedterrain;agriculturalpracticesthatenhancemobility;pliableethnicidentities;devotiontoprophetic,millenarianleaders;andmaintenanceofalargelyoralculturethatallowsthemtoreinventtheirhistoriesandgenealogiesastheymovebetweenandaroundstates.Inaccessiblelanguage,JamesScott,recognizedworldwideasaneminentauthorityinSoutheastAsian,peasant,andagrarianstudies,tellsthestoryofthepeoplesofZomiaandtheirunlikelyodysseyinsearchofselfdetermination.HeredefinesourviewsonAsianpolitics,history,demographics,andevenourfundamentalideasaboutwhatconstitutescivilization,andchallengesuswitharadicallydifferentapproachtohistorythatpresentseventsfromtheperspectiveofstatelesspeoplesandredefinesstatemakingasaformof?internalcolonialism.�Thisnewperspectiverequiresaradicalreevaluationofthecivilizationalnarrativesofthelowlandstates.Scott�sworkonZomiarepresentsanewwaytothinkofareastudiesthatwillbeapplicabletootherrunaway,fugitive,andmaroonedcommunities,betheyGypsies,Cossacks,tribesfleeingslaveraiders,MarshArabs,orSanBushmen.