Seeing Like a Theorist


Warren Magnusson sees a problem endemic to political thought and practice: we see the world in ways that presume and reaffirm the necessity of a sovereign territorial state, on pain of violent disorder in its absence. The solution is to ‘see like a city’, shaking off the dualism of sovereignty versus anarchy and finding a richer space of political possibilities. I admire and applaud Magnusson’s critical efforts to challenge dominant categories and illuminate possibilities, but these aims rest uneasily with his polemical contrast between sovereignty and cities.