The Art of Not Being Governed : An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia
by James C. Scott
Editor: Yale University Press
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For two thousand years, the disparate groups now living in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled plans to organize the state societies that surround them-slavery, conscription, taxes, labor, epidemics and war.This book, essentially an “anarchist of history”, is the first review of the enormous literature on the state of decisions whose author assesses why people would have deliberately and reactively statelessAmong the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersal in rugged terrain, and agricultural practices that improve mobility: flexible ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, ancient leaders; and maintaining much of the oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between statesIn accessible language, James Scott, recognized throughout the world as a leading authority in Southeast Asia, peasants, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their improbable odyssey in search of self-determination.It redefines our view of Asian politics, history, demography, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history, which presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples, and redefines the state, as a form of “internal colonialism”This new perspective requires a radical reassessment of civilization’s stories of the plain unitedScott’s work on the Zomia represents a new way of thinking of the study area which will be applicable to other fugitive, fugitive, and marooned communities, Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marshes, Arabs, or San Bushmen
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