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“Seeking Like a State” by James Scott Essay

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Updated: Jan 6th, 2022


Seeking like a State is a study book written by James Scott a reflection of the 20th century on the nature structural imposition with regard to the elements of social diversity. The book contains metaphoric scientific ideologies presented in a story format about forestry in German. The story gives an authoritative impression of the Prussian state in the late 18th century whereby much interest was demonstrated towards the likeness of forestry production. The state took a manual initiative of evaluating the number of forests and estimates the actual number of trees present in each case by species classification.

Forests were created with certain types of trees depending on their economic nature in terms of creating wholesome capital. Species of trees with greater capital were most preferable for that matter and this led to economic high-rise. Scott’s impulsive idea on the societal nature of upgrading gives pressured critiques of political techniques that aid in achieving a legitimate society. These techniques also support the development of a cultural phenomenon in the absence of hierarchical and geometrical consistency.

The study book reveals how the modernized state has instilled order upon the societal issues that are fundamental in controlling and understanding those elements related to the development of the society (Scott 1998). The imposition of orders in the society is facilitated by subsequent enumeration of complex arenas that comprise natural resource ownership such as land. Such a complex process is achieved by drafting highly contented maps that display the basic idea thus referred to as by Scott as a legibility creating process. According to Scott’s argument, it is clearly evident that the highly tragic equitable state’s episodes that triggered the origin of social engineering enigma are attributed to some form elements combined perniciously.

Key Elements in the Book Study

The key elements addressed by Scott (1998) in this book study comprise the ordering of nature rejuvenation in the society by the administration. This idea underscores the major functional roles that are imposed by the state government towards the control and management of nature. Another element focused in the context is about the progressive cultivation of both scientific and technical knowledge in society (Scott 1998). This element is of great significance as argued by Scott (1998) because it helps to enhance high productivity. This gives a legible sensation of comprehensive scientific quality decisions thus described as the ideology of the highest modesty (Scott 1998).

Another key element focused in the book is the willingness and the potentiality of the state to instill its coercive power in the application of authoritarian mechanisms in the proper planning of the social development projects. The final element highlighted in the context is all about resistance absence to capacitate the imposed measures in the development process of the society from the prostrate civil system.

Example from the Current News

It is good to conserve forestry as a natural resource (Milledge 2010). In most cases, national development is directly dependent on good forestry governance as argued by though the relationship between the two arms is not well elaborate. The state government in any nation has developed regulatory personalities on the management of natural resources such as forestry, water, mines, and fisheries among others.

In addition to boosting economic status through fostering income, forestry plays a major role in the purification of the environment and conservation of soil by acting as a nutrient additive element and soil erosion barrier. Milledge’s argument is based on the Southern Africa 2010 report on Forestry Governance and National Development.

Reference List

Milledge, Simon. 2010. Forestry Governance and National Development. Oxford: oxford university publishers.

Scott, James. 1998. Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New heaven & London: Yale University Press.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "“Seeking Like a State” by James Scott." January 6, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/seeking-like-a-state-by-james-scott/.


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