Book review symposium – James C. Scott’s “Two Cheers for Anarchism”

Just in time for this year’s festival of self-organisation on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, we’re pleased to present a book review symposium on James C. Scott’s Two Cheers for Anarchism. Professor of Anthropology in Yale University’s Department of Political Science, James Scott will be well-know to many Antipode readers: The Moral Economy of the Peasant (1976), Weapons of the Weak (1985), Domination and the Arts of Resistance (1990), Seeing Like a State (1998) and The Art of Not Being Governed (2009) have established him as one of today’s most innovative, interesting and important writers on the nature of domination and resistance and forms of governance and alternatives to them.

ScottScott’s more recent book Two Cheers for Anarchism: Six Easy Pieces on Autonomy, Dignity, and Meaningful Work and Play (2012) offers not a ‘comprehensive anarchist worldview and philosophy’ but, rather, an ‘anarchist squint’ or some ‘anarchist glasses’ through which to register the reality of both ‘mutuality, or cooperation without hierarchy or state rule’, and ‘the anarchist tolerance for confusion and improvisation that accompanies social learning’ in the world. We think it represents an invaluable resource for all kinds of conversations ongoing in radical geography, and given recent interest in ‘anarchist geographies’ (including special issues of both Antipode and ACME) and actually existing alternatives (see here, for example), we’ve here assembled three geographers to reflect on the book and its uses – Johnnie Crossan (University of Glasgow), Simon Springer (University of Victoria) and Stephen Healy (Worcester State University); Scott himself offers further thoughts in reply.

The reviews

Johnnie Crossan (University of Glasgow)

Simon Springer (University of Victoria)

Stephen Healy (Worcester State University

Author’s response

James C. Scott (Yale University)