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 are mostly history. Nevertheless the very existence and necessity of the state has often been disputed. 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. We will explore key intellectual sources of anti-state philosophy, such as anarchism and libertarianism. We will also examine the ideas, organization and political fortune of several anti-state movements and political actors, such as Occupy Wall Street, dissident groups in the former Central European communist regimes, or the patriot movement and militia organizations in the US.
One essay (around 4000 words), three shorter reaction papers, participation
To be announced in September 2016