Two Cheers for Anarchism

Two Cheers for Anarchism

Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play

Book - 2012
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James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing--one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions. Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself.

Beginning with what Scott calls "the law of anarchist calisthenics," an argument for law-breaking inspired by an East German pedestrian crossing, each chapter opens with a story that captures an essential anarchist truth. In the course of telling these stories, Scott touches on a wide variety of subjects: public disorder and riots, desertion, poaching, vernacular knowledge, assembly-line production, globalization, the petty bourgeoisie, school testing, playgrounds, and the practice of historical explanation.

Far from a dogmatic manifesto, Two Cheers for Anarchism celebrates the anarchist confidence in the inventiveness and judgment of people who are free to exercise their creative and moral capacities.

Publisher: Princeton [N.J.] : Princeton University Press, c2012.
ISBN: 9780691155296
Branch Call Number: 335.83 SCOTT J
Characteristics: xxvi, 169 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.


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Sep 03, 2015

A delightful read, from a viewpoint way out in left field. The author makes a good point in showing that issues can be understood by looking at them from different vantage point, rather than from a different position in a debate.

May 07, 2014

In an ideal world, central planning would be most beneficial for humans, it simply becomes so corrupted as observed in the history of the Soviet Union, or modern America. In Seattle, a city-wide monorail would have been a most valuable present and future asset, yet the powers-that-be [the Community Development Roundtable which runs the town] believed differently; instead a massively overbudgeted light rail, which requires exorbitantly expensive tunneling, and the world's largest deep bore tunnel, to be dug by an expensive tunneling machine which craps out everytime it contacts a wayward rebar, costing many millions in repairs. Obviously, central planning is not working on behalf of the citizenry. A most excellent book.

SkycycleX2 Dec 31, 2012

This is a surprisingly enjoyable, interesting and thought-provoking book on Anarchy, the form of non-government. One would expect this book to be dry and boring, written as it is by a Yale professor of Political Science but, on the contrary, it made me want to listen to Scott lecture. His style of writing in "fragments" made the book as easy to understand and one could flip through and read a thought-provoking fragment without any prior knowledge and still enjoy it. I picked it up because I am interested in Anarchy in general and the book was particularly interesting from that point of view but it's written from a scholar's or observer's perspective and does not preach or convert to a particular dogma. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in government, social studies and public policy - or just people in general!


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