chapter  7
29 Pages

Beyond Coping

When people realize that striving to cope leaves them exhausted and losing ground, they are moved to resist the system that constricts their existence. In most cases, as James C. Scott and others have noted, these forms of struggle and resistance stop short of outright defiance because ordinary, powerless people know too well the penalties inflicted by society against deviants and rebels. Often, they resort to more mundane weapons: foot dragging, apathy, dissimulation, desertion, false compliance, stealing, feigned ignorance, arson, sabotage-“Brechtian” forms of class struggle, in Scott’s words, that have in common the fact that they require little coordi­ nation or planning; they represent a form of self-help; and they typically avoid direct confrontation with authorities.1