Ah, bureaucracy: our sad weird giant utopia built on hold music, long lines, and paperwork. InThe Utopia of Rules, anthropologist and activist David Graeber (the man who brought us Debt, not to mention the Occupy slogan "We are the 99%!") lends his acute brain-powers to the pencil pushers and cogs, approaching them using everything from Batman to Max Weber, fantasy lit to the German Postal Service. The result is a demanding, important examination of a subject that bolsters institutional violence, paralyzes the imagination, and, perhaps most alarmingly, silences the types of conversation this book starts. (Chad)
From the author of the international bestseller Debt: The First 5,000 Years comes a revelatory account of the way bureaucracy rules our lives Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations, and bureaucracy come from? How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence? To answer these questions, the anthropologist David Graeber--one of our most important and provocative thinkers--traces the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today, and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice...though he also suggests that there may be something perversely appealing--even romantic--about bureaucracy. Leaping from the ascendance of right-wing economics to the hidden meanings behind Sherlock Holmes and Batman, The Utopia of Rules is at once a powerful work of social theory in the tradition of Foucault and Marx, and an entertaining reckoning with popular culture that calls to mind Slavoj Zizek at his most accessible. An essential book for our times, The Utopia of Rules is sure to start a million conversations about the institutions that rule over us--and the better, freer world we should, perhaps, begin to imagine for ourselves.
About the Author
DAVID GRAEBER teaches anthropology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of Debt: The First 5,000 Years, Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire, and Direct Action: An Ethnography. He has written for Harper's, The Nation, The Baffler, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New Left Review.