This essay engages with Exceptional Violence and builds on Deborah Thomas's attention to state formation, statecraft, and political community to tentatively explore how “the state” has featured in Caribbean studies and what the role of Caribbeanist anthropologists has been and might be. Reflecting on the limited direct concern with the state that Caribbeanist anthropology as a whole has displayed historically, the essay suggests a number of avenues for productively studying the everyday life of the state, including a more explicit consideration of the active role that governed populations play in imagining, representing, and enacting their relationships with governmental actors and assemblages.

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