James Scotts notion of Zomia proposes a new look at historical and social dynamics in a vast area of the Asian hinterlands, in terms of deliberate state-avoidance that came to an end through the nation states superior techniques of control. Zomia is a concept metaphor that defines the social reality it purportedly only describes. My examination points to a pervasive problem with the historicization of highland regions in Europe as much as in Asia. Juxtaposing Scotts case with two other definitions of Zomia, I call attention to the way concept metaphors define social landscapes and historical dynamics. Drawing on the work of several Europeanists, I suggest a model of ruralurban relations that does not privilege either a community or the state as the principle of society and history, which may overcome the separate disciplinary biases of anthropology, history and political science.