David Graeber


Books by David Graeber


9781501143311

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory

Available in: Hardcover
"'Does your job make a meaningful contribution to the world?' David Graeber asked this question in [an] ... online essay titled On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs. He defined a bullshit job as 'a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence, even though as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case' ... Using arguments from some of the most revered political thinkers, philosophers, and scientists of our time, Graeber articulates the societal and political consequences of these bullshit jobs"--Dust jacket flap.
9780986132506

On Kings

Available in: Paperback
In anthropology as much as in popular imagination, kings are figures of fascination and intrigue, heroes or tyrants in ways presidents and prime ministers can never be. This collection of essays by two of the world's most distinguished anthropologists--David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins--explores what kingship actually is, historically and anthropologically. As they show, kings are symbols for more than just sovereignty: indeed, the study of kingship offers a unique window into fundamental dilemmas concerning the very nature of power, meaning, and the human condition.
Reflecting on issues such as temporality, alterity, and utopia--not to mention the divine, the strange, the numinous, and the bestial--Graeber and Sahlins explore the role of kings as they have existed around the world, from the BaKongo to the Aztec to the Shilluk and beyond. Richly delivered with the wit and sharp analysis characteristic of Graeber and Sahlins, this book opens up new avenues for the anthropological study of this fascinating and ubiquitous political figure.
9781612195186

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Available in: Paperback
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.

9781612193748

The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy

Available in: Hardcover
"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 ... [explores what he sees as] the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice"--Amazon.com.
9781612194196

Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years (Revised)

Available in: Paperback
Now in paperback, the updated and expanded edition: David Graeber's "fresh . . . fascinating . . . thought-provoking . . . and exceedingly timely" (Financial Times) history of debt

Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom: he shows that before there was money, there was debt. For more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goods--that is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors.

Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like "guilt," "sin," and "redemption") derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong. We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it.