1. Hills, Valleys, and States: An Introduction to Zomia -- 2. State Space: Zones of Governance and Appropriation -- 3. Concentrating Manpower and Grain: Slavery and Irrigated Rice -- 4. Civilization and the Unruly -- 5. Keeping the State at a Distance: The Peopling of the Hills -- 6. State Evasion, State Prevention: The Culture and Agriculture of Escape -- Orality, Writing, and Texts -- 7. Ethnogenesis: A Radical Constructionist Case -- 8. Prophets of Renewal -- 9. Conclusion
For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them - slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an 'anarchist history', is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.