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Still Waiting for the Barbarians

  • Adam T. Smith (a1)

Extract

It seems almost preordained that James Scott, a scholar who moves with profound agility between the worlds of anthropology and political science, should eventually work his way onto the intellectual terrain of the barbarian. Barbarians play a foundational role in the formation of both disciplines, populating both anthropology's ‘savage slot’ (Trouillot 2003) and political science's prelapsarian ‘state of nature’ (Palmeri 2016). In Scott's most recent book, Against the Grain, the barbarians who helped to shape the world's earliest states play a variety of consequential roles. They are at once the forces of resistance to centralizing power, the refugees seeking respite from sovereignty's infringements and the brigands of the borderlands who provide the slave labour and mercenaries that prop up the fragile state.

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Still Waiting for the Barbarians

  • Adam T. Smith (a1)

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