Society Against the State
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. Through out the 1960s he lived with Indian groups in Paraguay and Venezuela. From 1971 to his death in 1979 he was a Director of Studies at the Ã‰cole Pratique des Hautes Ã‰tudes in Paris, where he held the chair of Religion and Societies of the South American Indians.
About the Author
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.