The terror of modernism or Scott’s 'tunnel vision' Cover Image

Modernistyczny terror, czyli krótko o "tunnel vision" Jamesa C. Scotta
The terror of modernism or Scott’s 'tunnel vision'

Author(s): Mateusz Pietryka
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature
Published by: Instytut Slawistyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk
Keywords: high modernism; progress; science; state governance; tunnel vision

Summary/Abstract: The article analyses James C. Scott’s book Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. Scott’s book examines different aspects of a modern state’s activity and its methods of control over the population. Scott describes diverse failures in state planning and links them to the ideology of what he terms “high modernism”. Scott states that this ideology results in over confidence in scientific progress and omnipresent simplifications, since a modernist plan does not recognize the importance of local knowledge and tradition. Though the book clearly illustrates how the fore-mentioned centralist approach leads to failures, its methodology, however, lacks the critical analysis of the nature of governance and liberal economy. Furthermore, Scott offers no insight on the late capitalism nor legible solutions for the described issues. He seems to be unaware of constructing his own “tunnel vision” by selective case studies and building the narration on simplified oppositions.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 563-572
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: Polish