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Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
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Bibliographic Detail
Publisher Yale Univ Pr
Publication date February 8, 1999
Pages 464
Binding Paperback
Book category Adult Non-Fiction
ISBN-13 9780300078152
ISBN-10 0300078153
Dimensions 1 by 6.25 by 9.75 in.
Weight 1.40 lbs.
Original list price $26.00
Other format details university press
Summaries and Reviews
Amazon.com description: Product 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.


Editions
Hardcover
Book cover for 9780300070163
 
from Yale Univ Pr (April 1, 1998)
9780300070163 | details & prices | 445 pages | 6.50 × 9.50 × 1.25 in. | 2.00 lbs | List price $60.00
About: Why have large-scale schemes to improve the human condition in the twentieth century so often gone awry?
Paperback
Book cover for 9780300078152
 
The price comparison is for this edition
from Yale Univ Pr (February 8, 1999)
9780300078152 | details & prices | 464 pages | 6.25 × 9.75 × 1.00 in. | 1.40 lbs | List price $26.00
About: 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.

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