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

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Yale University Press, 1998 - Business & Economics - 445 pages
79 Reviews
Compulsory ujamaa villages in Tanzania, collectivization in Russia, Le Corbusier's urban planning theory realized in Brasilia, the Great Leap Forward in China, agricultural "modernization" in the Tropics -- the twentieth century has been racked by grand utopian schemes that have inadvertently brought death and disruption to millions. Why do well-intentioned plans for improving the human condition go tragically awry?

In this wide-ranging and original book, James C. Scott analyzes failed cases of large-scale authoritarian plans in a variety of fields. Centrally managed social plans misfire, Scott argues, 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 upon 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. He identifies and discusses four conditions common to all planning disasters: administrative ordering of nature and society by the state; a "high-modernist ideology" that places confidence in the ability of science to improve every aspect of human life; a willingness to use authoritarian state power to effect large-scale interventions; and a prostrate civil society that cannot effectively resist such plans.

"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 inlearning 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

  

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

User Review  - John Favini - Goodreads

A fantastic, yet disturbingly long look at the ways in which modern states have sought to make their domains "legible" often at great harm to their citizens Read full review

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

User Review  - John Favini - Goodreads

A fantastic, yet disturbingly long look at the ways in which modern states have sought to make their domains "legible" often at great harm to their citizens Read full review

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Contents

Introduction
1
Nature and Space
11
Cities People and Language
53
Authoritarian High Modernism
87
An Experiment
103
A Plan and a Diagnosis
147
Soviet Collectivization Capitalist Dreams
193
An Agriculture of Legibility
262
Metis
309
Conclusion
342
Notes
359
Sources for Illustrations
433

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Discussion of Scott’s Seeing Like a State at Resilience Science
In the late 1990s James Scott wrote a very interesting book Seeing Like a State: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed about the ...
rs.resalliance.org/ 2007/ 11/ 17/ discussion-of-scotts-seeing-like-a-state/

David D. Laitin - Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to ...
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. By James C. Scott (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1998) 445 pp. ...
muse.jhu.edu/ demo/ journal_of_interdisciplinary_history/ v030/ 30.1laitin.html

Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human ...
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. by Michael Hibbard. James C. Scott. Yale University Press, New Haven, ...
www.questia.com/ PM.qst?a=o& se=gglsc& d=5001235451

JSTOR: Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the ...
115 BOOK REVIEWS SEEING LIKE A STATE: HOW CERTAIN SCHEMES TO IMPROVE THE HUMAN CONDITION HAVE FAILED. By James C. Scott. New Haven and London: Yale ...
links.jstor.org/ sici?sici=0361-7882(1998)31%3A1%3C115%3ASLASHC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7

Crooked Timber » » Seeing Like “Seeing Like a State”
Posted by Henry. My long post from a couple of months ago on James Scott’s Seeing Like a State and Brad delong’s review of it enjoyed a temporary revival ...
crookedtimber.org/ 2008/ 02/ 05/ seeing-like-seeing-like-a-state/

James C. Scott. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to ...
Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have. Failed. The Yale ISPS Series. New Hav en, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998. ...
www.h-net.org/ reviews/ showpdf.cgi?path=16612912703939

Public Interest: Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to ...
In his important new book, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed,(*) Yale anthropologist and political ...
findarticles.com/ p/ articles/ mi_m0377/ is_134/ ai_53551872/ print

The Best-Laid Plans - New York Times
The Best-Laid Plans. E-MAIL · Print · Single-Page; Save. By JOHN GRAY. Published: April 19, 1998. SEEING LIKE A STATE How Certain Schemes to Improve ...
query.nytimes.com/ gst/ fullpage.html?res=9802E5DD143DF93AA25757C0A96E958260

Random Stuff that Matters » Blog Archive » Seeing Like a State, by ...
According to James C. Scott’s book “Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed” (1999) these cases are all examples ...
reganmian.net/ blog/ 2006/ 04/ 10/ seeing-like-a-state-by-james-c-scott/

SEEING LIKE A STATE
SEEING LIKE A STATE. Philip Jenkins. http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/j/p/jpj1/. NOTES FOR CLASS ON OCTOBER 10, 2006. The main focus of discussion next ...
www.personal.psu.edu/ faculty/ j/ p/ jpj1/ seeing.htm