Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts
More lists with this book...
My only real concern is that he tends to crudely characterise the Gramscian notion of hegemony as ...more
James C Scott in his penetrating examination of domination and it historic precedents in Domination and the Arts of Resistance published in 1990 has captured my attention for these past days. He carefully examines the ways that the abuse of power has been more or less successfully dealt with down through the ages. Even though his work seems to reflect a past era, it appears to me timeless. It also highlights how the overthrow of oppression often ushers in ...more
This is an anthropologist's analysis of what might be a psychological phenomenon. It discusses how in situations where there are dominant and subordinate classes of persons, subordinates have to hide their resentment of the inequality. He talks about safety valves, like anonymous individual acts of resistance, and finally, how someone has to speak truth to power--someone has to declare out loud what is happening.
I do not know how this book fits in with my society right now. Definitely the idea...more
He covers a lot of the usual sociological suspects (Habermas, Bourdieu, Foucault, Bakhtin, E.P. Thompson), but he has a light touch for an academic and draws in all sorts of literary flair (Sophocles, George Eliot, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Balzac, Genet, Kundera, Gombrowicz).
Should be read with his other work on resistance.
The character of gossip that distinguishes it from rumor is that gossip consists typically of stories that are designated to ruin the reputation of some identifiable person or persons. If the perpetrators remain anonymous, the victim is clearly specified. There is, arguably, something of a disguised democratic voice about gossip in the sense that it is propagated only to the extent that others find it in their interest to retell the story.13 If they don’t, it disappears. Above all, most gossip is a discourse about social rules that have been violated. A person’s reputation can be damaged by stories about his tightfistedness, his insulting words, his cheating, or his clothing only if the public among whom such tales circulate have shared standards of generosity, polite speech, honesty, and appropriate dress. Without an accepted normative standard from which degrees of deviation may be estimated, the notion of gossip would make no sense whatever. Gossip, in turn, reinforces these normative standards by invoking them and by teaching anyone who gossips precisely what kinds of conduct are likely to be mocked or despised.
13. The power to gossip is more democratically distributed than power, property, and income, and, certainly, than the freedom to speak openly. I do not mean to imply that gossip cannot and is not used by superiors to control subordinates, only that resources on this particular field of struggle are relatively more favorable to subordinates. Some people’s gossip is weightier than that of others, and, providing we do not confuse status with mere public deference, one would expect that those with high personal status would be the most effective gossipers.”