Looking Like An Aid Implementor

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Seeing Like An Aid Implementor

Scott employs photos throughout his book, Seeing Like A State, to illustrate his arguments about statecraft and the bureaucracy that aims to control the state. Urban architect Le Corbusier’s plans for Paris and Brasilia present some of the most striking examples. The book’s images depict the cities from a bird’s eye view. The buildings look identical and orderly. As a city administrator or in a larger sense a state official, the images represent the need of authority powers to make their job of governing more efficient. Authorities render the individuals that live within these spaces as abstract beings with equivocal needs; however, this principle does not hold true. Individual needs and
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In the second section, Scott’s theory of high authoritarian modernism will be compared with Escobar’s theory of development discourse. Specifically, I will argue that the elements of modernity and the need to make society legible through the lens of an expert resonate in both Scott and Escobar’s arguments. Both are skeptical of top-down efforts to organize society and the ramifications that these efforts have on the individuals that they seek to serve.
Authoritarian High Modernism
Scott’s theory of authoritarian high modernism has several components that seek to explain the conditions of state control and organization over its citizens. In order to efficiently govern the masses, authorities need to create legible societies. The means to create this legibility depends on the standardization and thus often the destruction of individually unique spaces. Additionally, states must have the authoritative strength to coerce change. For example, Le Corbusier’s urban plans ignored the grey areas of urban life or the spaces that individuals create organically. The drive for this legibility, according to Scott, derives from the ideology of high modernism. At its core, Scott describes authoritarian high modernism as …A supreme self-confidence about continued linear progress, the development of scientific and technical knowledge, the expansion of production, the
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