Download Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed Audiobook

Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed Audiobook, by James C. Scott Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: James C. Scott Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2018 ISBN: 9781538552919
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A magisterial critique of top-down social planning.”

    New York Times

  • “Illuminating and beautifully written, this book calls into sharp relief the nature of the world we now inhabit.”

    New Yorker

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About the Author

James C. Scott is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Anthropology at Yale University and current president of the Association of Asian Studies. He is the author of Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance; Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts; and The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia, all published by Yale University Press.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner, a finalist for the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration, and recipient of a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award. He is also an actor and director in the Washington, DC, area, where he is active in the area’s theater scene and has appeared in productions at the Shakespeare Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and Theater J.