The state is widely considered the most powerful political organization of modern societies. Indeed it is hard to imagine social order without the state ─ stateless societies and maroon communities, such as the Indians, pirates, Diggers, slaves and mutineers, or the inhabitants of Zomia in South East Asia, are mostly history. Nevertheless the very existence and necessity of the state continuous to be disputed, even within the societies that had long been exposed to modernity and to the states’ existence, such as in Western Europe and other advanced industrial countries. The functioning of states is frequently subject of critique from different ideological and ideational positions and both history and contemporary politics are replete with examples of anti-state rebellions and other strategies of what James C. Scott calls “the art of not being governed.” “Anti-statism” is the core subject of this course and we will approach it from the perspective of several sub-fields of political science, including political theory, social movements studies, and studies of political institutions. We will start with discussions about origins of the state and some of the key problems the existence of the state poses to individuals and societies. In this part of the course we will also explore some of the key intellectual sources of anti-state philosophy, focusing mainly on anarchism. In the second part of the course we will explore the ideas, organization and political fortune of several anti-state political actors, such as Occupy Wall Street, dissident groups in the former Central European communist regimes, and the militia movement in the US. Third part of the course will be centered around possible applications of anarchist ideas and non-state principles in concrete policy domains, for example basic school education or criminal justice system.
Two essays (together 80% of final grade)
Participation (20% of final grade)
James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012)
See 'Practical Information'.