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Pierre Clastres

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. His books include Society Against the State (1974) and Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians (1972). Eduardo Viveiros de Castro is a Brazilian anthropologist and a professor at the National Museum of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Titles by This Author

The war machine is the motor of the social machine; the primitive social being relies entirely on war, primitive society cannot survive without war. The more war there is, the less unification there is, and the best enemy of the State is war. Primitive society is society against the State in that it is society-for-war.--from The Archeology of ViolenceAnthropologist and ethnographer Pierre Clastres was a major influence on Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus, and his writings formed an essential chapter in the discipline of political anthropology.

Pierre Clastres (1934-1979) was one of the most respected political anthropologists of our time. Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians is an account of his first fieldwork in the early 1960s--an encounter with a small, unique, and now vanished Paraguayan tribe. From "Birth" to "The End," Clastres follows the Guayakis in their everyday lives, determined to record every detail of their history, ritual, myths, and culture in order to answer the many questions prompted by his personal experiences.

Essays in Political Anthropology

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 Indian 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.Born in 1934, Pierre Clastres was educated at the Sorbonne.