Seeing like a state: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (Google eBook)

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Yale University Press, Feb 1, 1999 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - 463 pages
113 Reviews
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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Review: Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed

User Review  - Chris Freeman - Goodreads

A compelling discourse on the shortcomings of institutional logic. A more concretely academic vindication of what I've believed all along. Scott proposes 4 factors that, when coextensive, will produce ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Mike - Goodreads

Scott's comprehensive critique of high modernism, and of planning hubris more generally, should be a required read for any student of public policy, urban planning, development, and other fields that ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Part 1 State Projects of Legibility and Simplification
9
Part 2 Transforming Visions
85
Part 3 The Social Engineering of Rural Settlement and Production
181
Part 4 The Missing Link
307

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About the author (1999)

James C. Scott is the Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and Director of Agrarian Studies at Yale University. His most recent book is "Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed.

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