The following quotations are from:
James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts
“…reactance theory begins with the premise that there is a human desire for freedom and autonomy that, when threatened by the use of force, leads to a reaction of opposition. Various experiments along these lines indicate that when threats are added to a persuasive communication they reduce the degree of attitude change that otherwise occurs. Providing the threat is sufficiently imposing, overt agreement and compliance may prevail but covert reactance will increase. Overt compliance in the presence of a threat was often secured only by close surveillance to detect and punish deviance. Once the surveillance was withdrawn, the compliance evaporated quickly, and it was found that the surveillance itself, as an emanation of compulsion, further increased the degree of reaction. As one summary of research concludes, ‘The literature on reactance theory attests to the fact that threatened choice alternatives tend to become more attractive, and threats to attitudes can produce boomerang attitude change.’ The role of power relations in opening a gap between public and covert behavior is confirmed by other experimental evidence as well.” 109
“Within this restricted social circle the subordinate is afforded a partial refuge from the humiliations of domination, and it is from this circle that the audience (one might say ‘the public’) for the hidden transcript is drawn. Suffering from the same humiliations or, worse, subject to the same terms of subordination, they have a shared interest in jointly creating a discourse of dignity, of negation, and of justice. They have, in addition, a shared interest in concealing a social site apart from domination where such a hidden transcript can be elaborated in comparative safety.
The most elementary forms of negation found in the social sites of the hidden transcript represent nothing more than the safe articulation of the assertion, aggression, and hostility that is thwarted by the onstage power of the dominant. Discretion in the face of power requires that a part of the ‘self’ that would reply or strike back must lie low.” 114
“The hidden transcript does require a public—even if that public necessarily excludes the dominant. None of the practices and discourses of resistance can exist without tacit or acknowledged coordination and communication within the subordinate group. For that to occur, the subordinate group must carve for itself social spaces insulated from control and surveillance from above. If we are to understand the process by which resistance is developed and codified, the analysis of the creation of these offstage social spaces becomes a vital task. Only by specifying how such social spaces are made and defended is it possible to move from the individual resisting subject—an abstract fiction—to the socialization of resistant practices and discourses.” 118
“As we turn to an examination of the social sites where the hidden transcript grows, it will be helpful to keep several points in in mind. First, the hidden transcript is a social product and hence a result of power relations among subordinates. Second, like folk culture, the hidden transcript has no reality as pure thought; it exists only to the extent it is practiced, articulated, enacted, and disseminated within these offstage social sites. Third, the social spaces where the hidden transcript grows are themselves an achievement of resistance; they are won and defended in the teeth of power.” 119
“The social sites of the hidden transcript are those locations in which the unspoken riposte, stifled anger, and bitten tongues created by relations of domination find a vehement, full-throated expression. It follows that the hidden transcript will be least inhibited when two conditions are fulfilled: first, when it is voiced in a sequestered social site where the control, surveillance, and repression of the dominant are least able to reach, and second, when this sequestered social milieu is composed entirely of close confidants who share similar experiences of domination. The initial condition is what allows subordinates to talk freely at all, while the second ensures that they have, in their common subordination, something to talk about.
For any relation of domination it ought to be possible to specify a continuum of social sites ranged according to how heavily or lightly they are patrolled by dominant elites. The least patrolled, most autonomous sites would presumably be the most likely locations for recovering the hidden transcript.” 120
“If the social location par excellence of the public transcript is to be found in the public assemblies of subordinates summoned by elites, it follows that the social location par excellence for the hidden transcript lies in the unauthorized and unmonitored secret assemblies of subordinates.” 121
“In European culture at any rate, the alehouse, the pub, the tavern, the inn, the cabaret, the beer cellar, the gin mill were seen by secular authorities and by the church as places of subversion .Here subordinate classes met offstage and off-duty in an atmosphere of freedom encouraged by alcohol. Her was also a privileged site for the transmission of popular culture—embodied in games, songs, gambling, blasphemy, and disorder—that was usually at odds with official culture.” 121
“The importance of the tavern or its equivalent as a site of antihegemonic discourse lay less in the drinking it fostered or in its relative insulation from surveillance than in the fact that it was the main point of unauthorized assembly for lower-class neighbors and workers. Along with the market, which was larger and more anonymous, the tavern was the closest thing to a neighborhood meeting of subordinates. The development of the coffeehouse and club-room during the eighteenth century created a similar social space for a growing middle class and in turn fostered the growth of a distinctive middle-class culture, leaving the alehouse more exclusively to the working classes. Each site, owing to the social position of its habitués, generated a distinctive culture and pattern of discourse.” 122
“As Lawrence Goodwyn explains, ‘The organizing conversations at Cegielski [Railway Works] were conducted in places beyond the gaze of foremen—in trains and buses to and from work, in remote sections of the plant, at lunch breaks, and in the grossly inadequate cold water locker rooms which in themselves constituted one of the continuing grievances… This space was not a gift; it had to be created by people who fought to create it. Thus, to think of anti-hegemonic discourse as occupying merely the social space left empty by domination would be to miss the struggle which such sites are won, cleared, built, and defended.
The elaboration of hidden transcripts depends not only on the creation of relatively unmonitored physical locations and free time but also on active human agents who create and disseminate them. The carriers are likely to be as socially marginal as the places where they gather.” 123
“In its most striking form, an entire ersatz façade may be erected in order to shield another reality from detection. Hill villages in colonial Laos, for example, were required by the occasionally visiting French officials to have a village headman and elders with whom they could deal. The Laotians responsded, it appears, by creating a set of bogus notables who had no local influence and who were presented to colonial functionaries as the local officials. Behind this ruse, the respected local figures continued to direct local affairs, including the performance of the bogus officials. The Laotian case is but a dramatic instance of the age-old efforts of Southeast Asian villages to keep a threatening state at arm’s length by keeping their land tenure, kinship, income, crop yields, livestock, and factions a closely guarded secret.” 132