“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 oblivious
 to much of what is going on around them, falls on the powerless,
 who thus tend to empathize with the powerful far more than the
 powerful do with them.
 The bureaucratic imposition of simple categorical schemes on the
 world is a way of managing the fundamental stupidity of such situations.
 In the hands of social theorists, such simplified schemas can be sources
 of insight; when enforced through structures of coercion, they tend to
 have precisely the opposite effect.”
 This essay is an exploration of certain areas of human life that have tended
 to make anthropologists uncomfortable: those areas of starkness, simplicity,
 obliviousness, and outright stupidity in our lives made possible by violence.
 * By “violence” here, I am NOT referring to the kind of occasional,
 spectacular acts of violence that we tend to think of first when the word is
 invoked, but again, the boring, humdrum, yet omnipresent forms of
 structural violence that define the very conditions of our existence,
 the subtle or not-so-subtle threats of physical force that
 lie behind everything from enforcing rules about where one is allowed
 to sit or stand or eat or drink in parks or other public places,
 to the threats or physical intimidations or attacks that underpin the
 enforcement of tacit gender norms.
 Let us call these areas of violent simplification.
 They affect us in almost every aspect of our lives.”

— dead zones of the imagination, David Graeber, Professor of Anthropology.
Anarchist author/philosopher.

file http://www.haujournal.org/index.php/hau/article/download/120/203


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