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Publisher's Summary

James Scott taught us what's wrong with seeing like a state. Now, in his most accessible and personal book to date, the acclaimed social scientist makes the case for seeing like an anarchist. Inspired by the core anarchist faith in the possibilities of voluntary cooperation without hierarchy, Two Cheers for Anarchism is an engaging, high-spirited, and often very funny defense of an anarchist way of seeing - one that provides a unique and powerful perspective on everything from everyday social and political interactions to mass protests and revolutions.

Through a wide-ranging series of memorable anecdotes and examples, the book describes an anarchist sensibility that celebrates the local knowledge, common sense, and creativity of ordinary people. The result is a kind of handbook on constructive anarchism that challenges us to radically reconsider the value of hierarchy in public and private life, from schools and workplaces to retirement homes and government itself.

Beginning with what Scott calls "the law of anarchist calisthenics", an argument for law-breaking inspired by an East German pedestrian crossing, each chapter opens with a story that captures an essential anarchist truth. In the course of telling these stories, Scott touches on a wide variety of subjects: public disorder and riots, desertion, poaching, vernacular knowledge, assembly-line production, globalization, the petty bourgeoisie, school testing, playgrounds, and the practice of historical explanation.Far from a dogmatic manifesto, Two Cheers for Anarchism celebrates the anarchist confidence in the inventiveness and judgment of people who are free to exercise their creative and moral capacities.

©2012 Princeton University Press (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Two Cheers for Anarchism

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    5 out of 5 stars

Three cheeers for Two cheers for Anarchism

This is one of my favorite Audiobooks, I loved it so much I went and bought the physical version to sneak into work. Regardless of your personal political leanings or feelings about Anarchism, give James C Scott a chance, and youll probably find yourself rethinking some of those veiws

9 people found this helpful

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Shorter than “Seeing Like a State”

Contains many of the same arguments as SLAS, yet shorter and more informal. Also includes some new observations about political order and anarchy. I find his thinking provocative.

4 people found this helpful

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Good Overall

He does a solid job of explaining what states do in order to run more efficiently, and why this can be and often is, harmful for human freedom. I'd argue that he describes more of a minimalist libertarian marxism style state than true anarchism, but that doesn't take away all of the good that this book does in exposing and laying bare all of the faults on modern nation states.

If I had gone into this without having extensively read the various works written by the major Anarchist thinkers I probably would have gotten more out of it. It's a good, easy read, albeit a repetitive one if you have already read his work Seeing Like a State. He doesn't really break any new ground but puts his own simple twist on existing ideas. Its short however and does offer some legitimately good nuggets of insight.

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No pauses...

I suspect it was the editor who removed every breath the reader took. It was so hard to follow, almost as if the read were reading a list of words. There was not a moment to digest anything Scott wrote.

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Short and also Sweet.Defining anarchy as Mutualism

A nice effective delivery, Greek reason style.

Coming at us with INSIGHT into our over regulations of ourselves.

I put this with Blueprint by Nick Cristakis, how community identity is in our DNA. Same observation of human behavior from different perspectives



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Expected much more

Super dry with pompous tone to the book. Too high brow even for my tastes. Oh well... Next on list Conquest Of Bread.

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Good

a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 06-09-16

Eye-Opening and Insightful

James Scott's case for anarchy is one of the best mainstream presentations I've ever seen. Chapters two and six are especially good. Scott offers a view of *present* political life that is at once novel and powerfully convincing (albeit, a little naive). Despite it's vaguely unsatisfying incompleteness, I would count this as a much better book than Chomsky's "On Anarchy" for example, for the strength of its arguments.

3 people found this helpful

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  • papapownall
  • 08-28-19

Easy listening amble through anarchism

I have tried to understand Anarchism before and ploughed through heavyweight tomes of political diatribe by the likes of Bakunin, Kropotkin and Proudhon. This is joyless task and makes you wonder whether the concept of a stateless society is really all it is cracked up to be. I took a deep breath, therefore, when I stated to listen to this book by anthropologist James C Scott which promises to be a defence of the anarchist perspective. It is written in what is describes as "six easy pieces" and it is, indeed, easy to listen to and there are several times during the "Fragments" of this book that a reader could be forgiven for thinking that this is a light hearted collections of anecdotes rather than a description of a political ideology. There is precious little mention of anarchist theories or thinkers or history and this is a welcome relief. Whilst this book does not really do much to explain or promote anarchist concepts it is an easy listen that amuses rather than taxes the reader / listener and this is not a bad thing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Joseph R Pearce
  • 10-21-20

Excellent critique. Fun, playful and insightful.

As someone who has always described my self as Socialist, I am more and more aware of the dangers of the state and indeed centralised models of control. Power is in our hands and its through multiple spontaneous action that elites are toppled not by some centrally controlled organising committee. Trade Unionists should demand localisation of there unions. No more central offices in new York Washington or London. Great read

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  • Sarah Spectacles
  • 04-25-19

interesting and pertinent

some excellent points made though some pronunciations a little weirdly off putting! worth a listen

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-29-17

fragmentary but illuminating

Scott's essays are all over the place, for good or ill. Superficially they might seem unfocused. But they shed light on how anarchism is not an abstract ideology but a living practice that can pop up in all areas of disjointed human life.

The book is easy reading/listening, but don't let that deceive you. You will learn a lot in the process.

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  • Ciaran Buckley
  • 11-22-17

Brilliant ideas, calmly and clearly explained

Brilliant ideas, calmly and clearly explained. James C Scott explains the power of ordinary people acting in their own self-interest, changing history and how this is repugnant to the self-interests of the state.

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  • SJ Cooper-Knock
  • 09-21-17

Two cheers are too few...

For those who have not encountered Scott yet there is much to enjoy but otherwise there is little that is new. I loved Scott's prose, as ever, but longed for more on anarchism.