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Read or Download The Utopia of Rules: On Technolog

Read or Download The Utopia of Rules: On Technolog

Read online or Download The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by David Graeber

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Melville House Publishing
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5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)



From the author of the blockbuster 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 just how much are our lives being ruined by all this nonstop documentation?

To answer these questions, 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 power shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice.Is the inane, annoying paperwork we confront every day really a cipher for state violence? And is the capitalist promise of salvation-through-technology just a tool for the powerful to exert more control? Graeberprovides a forceful, radical answer to these questions, though he also suggests that there may be something appealing—even romantic—about bureaucracy.

Leaping from the ascendance of right-wing economics in the second half of the twentieth century to the hidden meanings behind James Bond, 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
в�… 04/06/2015
This essay collection from anthropologist Graeber is an utterly fascinating study of bureaucracy's role in modern life. He grounds readers first in the institution's history and then in the corporatization of contemporary discourse, showing that bureaucracy is merely a substitute for state-sponsored violence. He highlights how, as countries are modernized, bureaucracies ostensibly displace the old elite, but in reality merely reemploy and rebrand them while seeking to justify their own existence. Finally, Graeber demonstrates how corporatization is killing innovation. His book argues that, despite all these failings, bureaucracy is intensely appealing to the human brain because it places structures, rituals, and rules over systems that can otherwise seem meaningless. As an example of its insidious appeal, Graeber points to how pop culture constantly positions characters functioning within bureaucracies as rebels, even as those characters continue to tacitly justify the institutions they seemingly rebel against (see: every cop show ever). Readers familiar with Graeber's work will know the caliber of discourse he brings to the table: not all of his thoughts are unique, but they are wonderfully presented and wholly accessible. This is a rare treat that will amuse as easily as it unsettles, as readers struggle to reframe their own perceptions and open their eyes to Graeber's insights. (Feb.)

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