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

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

Part of the The institution for Social and Policy Studies series

4 out of 5 (2 ratings)

Description

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.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 460 pages, 36 illustrations
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Social welfare & social services
  • ISBN: 9780300078152

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by
4

Great insights into social nature, urbanization, statebuilding and such. Can go on into more dense field issues, but I found the historical treatment very good. Read, Kat! Or at least flip through...

Review by
4

Great insights into social nature, urbanization, statebuilding and such. Can go on into more dense field issues, but I found the historical treatment very good. Read, Kat! Or at least flip through...

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