Dec 5, 2012

Anarchism: James Scott's New Book

Jennifer Schuessler writes on James Scott and his new book Two Cheers for Anarchism:
“Unlike the anarchists, I don’t believe the state will ever be abolished,” he said in the interview. “It’s a matter of taming it” — through the kind of lawbreaking and disruption, he argues, that have always been crucial to democratic political change. 
 His method:
Mr. Scott has also been a longstanding critic of what he sees as the overconfident hyper-rationalism of political science itself, which has sacrificed its own kind of metis in favor of statistical analysis and abstract, immutable laws of political behavior. These days he’s flattered to be so often misidentified as an anthropologist.“ 
An anthropologist goes in and tries to have as few prejudices as possible and be as open as possible to where the world leads you,” he said, “whereas a political scientist would go in with a questionnaire.”
 And at the end of the article:
Mr. Scott has no idea what his academic colleagues will make of his quirky new book. But he said he’d always been less concerned with “defending turf,” as he puts it, than with moving on to wherever curiosity leads him. For now, that includes learning Burmese, teaching a seminar on the politics and ecology of rivers, and researching a new book on the “deep history” of plant and animal domestication.“ 
I just love raising animals,” he said before inviting a departing visitor to pluck a dozen freshly laid eggs from his ramshackle chicken coop. “It’s good to have something that requires your body and leaves your mind alone.”
The book. Fascinating!   

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