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Archeology of Violence

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Pierre Clastres broke up with his mentor Claude Levi-Strauss to collaborate with Gilles Deleuze and Felix Gattari on their "Anti-Oedipus." He is the rare breed of political anthropologist--a Nietzschean--and his work presents us with a generalogy of power in a native state. For him, tribal societies are not Rousseauist in essence; to the contrary, they practice systematic ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Semiotext(e) (first published December 1st 1977)
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Feb 29, 2016 Malte rated it really liked it
The Western illusion of human nature as either grim and savage (bad) or noble and harmonious (good) still has not recovered from the shock of Pierre Clastres' work. Basically, he agrees that societies without a state are structurally dependent on regularly waging war, but he does not conclude as the other Hobbesians that this necessarily is a good reason for a sovereign. In fact, according to Clastres, the reason why these societies constantly wage was is exactly to ward of the sovereign. It sho ...more
Jan 30, 2010 Joel rated it really liked it
essays on primitive society with great clarity of thought in terms of interpretation of tribal practices and so on. bound with that cheap semiotext(e) glue. interspersed with thematically pertinent though much less interesting academic spats (as in the funny one that begins 'though it is not very entertaining, we must reflect a bit on marxist anthropology...').

i liked this part about the karai prophets:

'The prophetic discourse of the karai can be summed up in an observation and a promise: on t
Without this book the idea of the war-machine or 'Introduction to Civil War' wouldn't have been possible. Essentially the book repeats its message in different essays, on different topics and in different formats ranging from personal travel narrative, to polemic, to academic essay. The message is basically that "primitive societies" were not underdeveloped along the path is argued to inevitably lead to the state-form, but that they consciously choose to develop in its very being and mythology p ...more
Bryn Hammond
Jan 06, 2015 Bryn Hammond rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-history
The two last essays, the title one and the ravishingly titled 'Sorrows of the Savage Warrior', make up his start on a work about primitive war, unfortunately lost to us.

For the rest of the book I thought 'I've been here before' in Society Against the State: Essays in Political Anthropology. For me that one had more and hung together more, though it might just be that I came to it 1st.

On primitive war. He begins by undoing old answers to the question, why war? 1, that war was a result of povert
Jan 16, 2014 blakeR rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, anth-sosh
A fascinating account of the relationship between war and primitive society, primarily in South America. It is a series of essays that all approach the topic from a slightly different angle.

Clastres main premise here is that war is not just a part of these primitive societies, it is inseparable from their existence. He separates societies into undivided and divided societies. The former are "primitive," even though this implies that they need to progress to "civilized." Civilized societies, on
Dec 27, 2012 Siggi added it
I have for a long time wanted to dive into the anarchist anthropology of Pierre Clastres. Since this is a collection of articles they are not all as informative but at least two of them blew my mind (one on Ethnocide). The introduction was so full of jargon I eventually skipped it and I also skipped his criticism on Marxist anthropology, simply since it wasn't giving me anything.
Since I am reading political anthropology to get a clearer anarchist view on the development of state and other insti
Jul 15, 2012 Heike rated it really liked it
Now I might not always agree with Clastre's anarchist leanings, but he is such an interesting read as academic books go and he is co-guilty of enticing me into choosing social anthropology as a discipline. Always thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating, and with a clear writing style (a rarity in the world of academe). A must for anyone who wants to think about the big questions, such as the origins and development of violence and ethnocide.
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Pierre Clastres, (1934-1977), was a French anthropologist and ethnographer. He is best known for his fieldwork among the Guayaki in Paraguay and his theory on stateless societies. Some people regard him as giving scientific validity to certain anarchist perspectives.[1]

In his most famous work, Society Against the State (1974), Clastres indeed criticizes both the evolutionist notion that the state
More about Pierre Clastres...

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