19:19 – Society Against The State – by Pierre Clastres – MP3 – Text – Archive – Torrent – YouTube
Can there be a society that is not divided into oppressors and oppressed, or that refuses coercive state apparatuses? In this landmark text in anthropology and political science, Pierre Clastres offers examples of South American Indigenous groups that, though without hierarchical leadership, were both affluent and complex. In so doing, he refutes the usual negative definition of tribal society and poses its order as a radical critique of our own Western state of power.
This audio zine is the last chapter of a full length book by the same name. Some of the ideas and terminology in this excerpt are quite dated and show an arrogance typical of western anthropology. This text is one of the first to argue, against the progressivist world view, that people living in hunter gatherer societies actually choose their lives and are not “underdeveloped” as modern society would label them.
Pierre Clastres (1934-1977) was a French anthropologist and ethnologist who in the wake of the events of May ’68, helped overturn anthropological orthodoxy in the 1970s.