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Book Title: Arqueologia de La Violencia|
The author of the book: Pierre Clastres
Format files: PDF
ISBN 13: 9789505576043
The size of the: 763 KB
Edition: Fondo de Cultura Economica USA
Date of issue: December 31st 2004
Read full description of the books Arqueologia de La Violencia:Pierre Clastres broke up with his mentor Claude Levi-Strauss to collaborate with Gilles Deleuze and Felix Gattari on their Anti-Oedipus. He is the rare breed of political anthropologist -- a Nietzschean -- and his work presents us with a generalogy of power in a native state. For him, tribal societies are not Rousseauist in essence; to the contrary, they practice systematic violence in order to prevent the rise in their midst of this "cold monster": the state. Only by waging war with other tribes can they maintain the dispersion and autonomy of each group. In the same way, tribal chiefs are not all-powerful; to the contrary, they are rendered weak in order to remain dependent on the community. In a series of groundbreaking essays, Clastres turns around the analysis of power among South American Indians and rehabilitates violence as an affirmative act meant to protect the integrity of their societies. These "savages" are shrewd political minds who resist in advance any attempt at "globalization."
Read information about the authorPierre Clastres, (1934-1977), was a French anthropologist and ethnographer. He is best known for his fieldwork among the Guayaki in Paraguay and his theory on stateless societies. Some people regard him as giving scientific validity to certain anarchist perspectives.
In his most famous work, Society Against the State (1974), Clastres indeed criticizes both the evolutionist notion that the state would be the ultimate destiny of all societies, and the Rousseauian notion of man's natural state of innocence (the myth of the noble savage). Knowledge of power is innate in any society, thus the natural state for humans wanting to preserve autonomy is a society structured by a complex set of customs which actively avert the rise of despotic power. The state is seen as but a specific constellation of hierarchical power peculiar only to societies who have failed to maintain these mechanisms which prevent separation from happening. Thus, in the Guayaki tribes, the leader has only a representational role, being his people's spokesperson towards other tribes ("international relations"). If he abuses his authority, he may be violently removed by his people, and the institution of "spokesperson" is never allowed to transform itself into a separate institution of authority. Pierre Clastres' theory thus was an explicit criticism of vulgar Marxist theories of economic determinism, in that he considered an autonomous sphere of politics, which existed in stateless societies as the active conjuration of authority. The essential question which Clastres sought to answer was: why would an individual in an egalitarian (eg foraging) society chose to subordinate himself to an authority? He considered the consequent rise of the state to be due to the power disparaties that arise when religion credits a prophet or other medium with a direct knowledge of divine power which is unattainable by the bulk of society. It is this upsetting of the balance of power that engendered the inequality to be found in more highly structured societies, and not an initial economic disparity as argued by the Marxist school of thought.
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