Introduction to “Moral Economies, State Spaces, and Categorical Violence”



By studying and writing about social revolutions and popular protest, James Scott has provided anthropologists and social theorists with a wide-ranging analytical vocabulary for speaking about peace and its inseparable twin—violence. His particular area of expertise has been the arts of repressive peace, and the artfulness of those who elude or defy such silencing technologies. The publication of The Moral Economy of the Peasant in 1976 initiated the first interactions between Scott's unique brand of political theory and anthropology in the shared topical space of peasant studies and the shared geographic space of Asian studies. The authors of this “In Focus” have assembled this special collection to celebrate and evaluate those and subsequent interactions covering a quarter of a century and spanning the publication of at least three other books: Weapons of the Weak (1985), Domination and the Arts of Resistance (1990), and Seeing Like a State (1998).