February 24, 2015
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? 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 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 Slovoj 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 our lives – and the better, freer world we should, perhaps, begin to imagine for ourselves.
David Graeber teaches anthropology at the London School of Economics, and is the author of the international best-seller Debt: The First 5,000 Years. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Harpers Magazine, The Nation, and The Guardian. In the summer of 2011, he was one of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street, and, as pointed out by Time magazine, “It it was also Graeber… Who coined the movements ingenious slogan, ‘We are the 99%.'”