Dead zones of the imagination

@article{Graeber2012DeadZO,
  title={Dead zones of the imagination},
  author={David A. Graeber},
  journal={HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory},
  year={2012},
  volume={2},
  pages={105 - 128}
}
  • D. Graeber
  • Published 1 August 2012
  • Political Science
  • HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory
The experience of bureaucratic incompetence, confusion, and its ability to cause otherwise intelligent people to behave outright foolishly, opens up a series of questions about the nature of power or, more specifically, structural violence. The unique qualities of violence as a form of action means that human relations ultimately founded on violence create lopsided structures of the imagination, where the responsibility to do the interpretive labor required to allow the powerful to operate… 

Violent Communication and the Tyranny of the Majority

In recent decades, research on human violence in the social sciences and humanities has focused on debunking the notion that there is such a thing as senseless violence. All types of violence are

After the good life: squatting and the politics of the commons in The good terrorist

ABSTRACT This essay focuses on the representation of squatting as a form of ‘commoning’ in Doris Lessing’s The good terrorist (1985). It argues that the text’s centring of the act of squatting

Bureaucratic Weaponry and the Production of Ignorance in Military Operations on Guam

Militarism is a form of life accomplished in the contemporary world through large institutions organized bureaucratically around the preparation for, and production of, violence. Bureaucracies most

Sovereignty as Care: Acquaintances, Mutuality, and Scale in the Wa State of Myanmar

Sovereignty always relies on a double movement of violence and care. It requires the power to exercise violence as well as the capacity to care, to protect, and to nourish. In the footsteps of

Everyday barricades: bureaucracy and the affect of struggle in trade unions

Employees in global workplaces commonly suggest they are being failed by trade union representatives that betray the political ideals of their institutions. The tenacity of this discourse requires

Grenfell, Austerity, and Institutional Violence

The complex chains of decisions that produce disasters like the Grenfell Tower fire are not readily described as ‘violence’. ‘Violence’ is something that remains largely understood in popular

Everyday Authoritarianism: Class and Coercion on Housing Estates in Neoliberal Britain

In Britain, especially in the 2010s, neoliberal reform involved an extension of legal coercion into the domestic and community lives of marginalized citizens. On two postindustrial housing estates in

On the banality of paperwork and the brutality of judicial bureaucracy in Myanmar

ABSTRACT Bureaucratic paperwork seems to be self-evidently banal. But why does it matter that paperwork has this appearance? What work is banality doing? This article addresses these general

Documents and the bureaucratisation of alternative dispute resolution in the United States

  • A. Reinke
  • Political Science
    Journal of Legal Anthropology
  • 2020
Documents are part of interactive sociocultural worlds in which ethnographers can analyse topics such as power relations, social struggle, violence and secrecy. While they emerge from bureaucratic

Meaningless labor in the concept of David Graeber

  • E. Popov
  • Economics
    Философия и культура
  • 2021
David Graeber (1961–2020) is a former professor at the London School of Economics, sociologist, and social anthropologist, prominent thinker of modernity; in the decades ahead, his views and social
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 71 REFERENCES

The Fabrication of Social Order: A Critical Theory of Police Power

This is a highly stimulating book that sets out to challenge conventional ideas about the role and function of the police. It questions both liberal conceptions that relate the role of the police to

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

This writer who has warned us of the “ideological” function of both the oeuvre and the author as unquestioned forms of discursive organization has gone quite far in constituting for both these

The Idea of Violence

ABSTRACT Violence is a central idea for political theory but there is very little agreement about how it should be understood. This paper examines some fashionable approaches to the concept and

Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor

Pathologies of Power uses harrowing stories of life--and death--in extreme situations to interrogate our understanding of human rights. Paul Farmer, a physician and anthropologist with twenty years

The Social Production of Indifference: Exploring the Symbolic Roots of Western Bureaucracy

Herzfeld argues that "modern" bureaucratically regulated societies are no more "rational" or less "symbolic" than the societies traditionally studied by anthropologists. He suggests that we cannot

Assembling Partial Perspectives: Thoughts on the Anthropology of Bureaucracy

This symposium should stimulate welcome conversation on the role of bureaucracy in the sociomaterial worlds that anthropologists study. Bureaucracy is not frequently found as a keyword in

Direct Action: An Ethnography

In the best tradition of participant-observation, anthropologist David Graeber undertakes the first detailed ethnographic study of the global justice movement. Starting from the assumption that, when

Ignorance is cosmos; knowledge is chaos: articulating a cosmological polarity in the Solomon Islands

In an article often cited as the crystallization of a widespread socio-cultural paradigm in the precolonial Solomon Islands, Roger Keesing (1985) sought to recover the lost complementarity between

The Paths to domination, resistance, and terror

The Culture of Conflict: Field Reality and Theory The Anthropology of Conflict Anthropology and the Politics of Genocide Domination, Acting, and Fantasy Resisting "Ethnicity": The Israeli State and

Galtung, Violence, and Gender: The Case for a Peace Studies/Feminism Alliance

My paper argues for an incorporation of feminist theories into peace theories, by analyzing what is missing by not confronting feminist contributions to a theory on violence. I take Johan Galtung's
...