To be quite frank, I’d like to see people even try to put in as much effort as I do to all my commitments, shield themselves from petty complaints and put-downs, and still come out of the ordeal with their self-respect intact.

“Everyday forms of resistance make no headlines. But just as millions of anthozoan polyps create, willy-nilly, a coral reef, so do the multiple acts of peasant insubordination and evasion create political and economic barrier reefs of their own. And whenever, to pursue the simile, the ship of state runs aground on such reefs, attention is usually directed to the shipwreck itself and not to the vast aggregation of petty acts that make it possible. For these reasons alone, it seems important to understand this quiet and anonymous welter of peasant action.”

– James C. Scott, Weapons of the Weak

Advertisement