POL114H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Gwn7, Ibm Officevision
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Tayyaba Shahzad POL114 January 29, 2015
Lecture 4: What do States do?
Census in Afghanistan counting people, registering them, forcing people to pick last
name as well as a birth date. Issuing identity cards in order to get provision form state.
Cambodia under polpot’s regime not just consensus. Empty cities and work
communal farms (even professor and university students). Eradicating private property
and urban lifestyle and language. Collectivization.
James C. Scott’s Answer
States seek to make territory and make people “legible” which means make the people readable
and easy to understand.
*not all states do this through the same means
Afghanistan 2014 does not equal Cambodia 1977
They want to raise revenue and avoid having people starve to death.
Keep the peace = mo starvation and no riots
Protect their borders for attack (conscription = South Korea, Afghanistan)
Point of legibility is that all these tasks can only be fulfilled through the knowledge of:
Occupation, weight, ability, size, age and gender
How much land there is (agricultural country)
How much people produce (taxation can’t guess, need exact income)
Early states found that:
There’s a range of diverse communities and villages so there are different ways of organizing
these racial groups.
There’s also different types of land and terrain so there are different modes of production.
Diverse parties and cultures = production varies and land is used for varying reasons.
Lots of dialect – not intelligible or understandable in another village.
Basically everyone has their own way of doing things even measuring a bushel of wheat
Confusing = illegible States answer to these problems
Standardized, uniformed, universal weights measure and practices.
Make everyone do the same thing (north vs. south France = doesn’t matter where in
France you are as long as you are in the territory of France, you will use the same
measurements all around)
States want to view from the center (the high, capital city = Paris, London, Ottawa,
Problem with illegibility = state can’t plan or administer
Solution = get rid of local customs and standardizes
Advantage of legibility = expand markets, increase revenue, transform society
Instead of using forests for rituals, teach people how to log that forest and maximize
revenue (plant crops, sell them).
EXAMPLE: UTM VS GWN = 1,2,3,4 years vs. freshman, sophomore, junior, senior;
GWORLD vs. UTORID