by Patrick Appel
Drake Bennett reviews a book about Zomia, a largely lawless section of Asia. I don't buy this:
In his most speculative and contested claim, [Yale political scientist James Scott] argues that even the lack of a written language in many Zomian societies is an adaptive measure and a conscious societal choice. For peasants, writing was, first and foremost, a tool of state control - it was the instrument the elite used to extract money, labor, and military service from them. As a result, Scott argues, when those peasants escaped into the hills they discarded writing in an attempt to ensure that similar coercive hierarchies didn’t arise in the new societies they formed.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.
2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan