Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Empire, Development and Colonialism

Empire, Development and Colonialism: The Past in the Present

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 223
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Empire, Development and Colonialism
    Book Description:

    This collection explores the similarities, differences and overlaps between the contemporary debates on international development and humanitarian intervention and the historical artefacts and strategies of Empire. It includes views by historians and stu

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-717-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-15)

    This collection of essays resulted, in the main, from a workshop held at the University of Bristol, in September 2007, entitled ‘Development and Colonialism: The Past in the Present’. It was instigated by the Department of Politics’ international development research group, and sought to explore interests in the similarities, and differences, between contemporary debates on socio-economic development, humanitarian intervention and aid, and the historical artefacts of European empire. It consciously sought to include historians and students of politics, and encouraged a broad eclecticism in terms of methodology and approach. Some of the papers presented here were given to a seminar...

  6. 1 The Exceptional Inclusion of ‘Savages’ & ‘Barbarians’ The Colonial Liberal Bio-politics of Mobility & Development
    (pp. 16-29)

    This chapter addresses mid-nineteenth-century British liberalism as it engaged with the crisis of the Morant Bay Rebellion (1865), following the ‘great experiment’ of emancipation in the British colony of Jamaica from 1833 onwards. The chapter uses that legacy to reflect upon limits of liberal government in the pursuit of security and the facilitation of freedom, including freedoms of mobility and the facilitation of developmental capabilities. While it is primarily concerned with the partial extension of liberal government to the post-emancipation population of Jamaican-African peasants in the period 1833–1865, the concluding section reflects on the legacy of this phase of...

  7. 2 Empire, International Development & the Concept of Good Government
    (pp. 30-44)

    This chapter sets out to look at the term ‘good government’ and to examine its contemporary meaning in comparison with its usage during the British Empire (Robinson, 1994; Leftwich, 1996). It seeks to draw parallels in the use and evolution of the term, not as a matter of historical curiosity, but in order to increase awareness of the origins of this form of governmentality (or, as Duffield calls it, a liberal strategisation of power) and to highlight parallels with its contemporary use.

    From the mid-1930s onwards, good government was improvised and redefined as a strategy of imperial control, following earlier...

  8. 3 Empire: A Question of Hearts? The Social Turn in Colonial Government, Bombay c. 1905–1925
    (pp. 45-58)

    By the turn of the twentieth century, British colonial government in Bombay became serious about sustaining the life of its subjected population, rather than treating it with indifference. The shift was not clear-cut. But the records produced by British administrators and their Indian colleagues tell of an emerging social sensibility and a growing concern over social conditions. This concern stuck with colonial state discourse up until a more repressive agenda began to sideline it by the mid-1920s. So, at this juncture, not at all brief in time, colonial officials in Bombay began to use a social vocabulary, engage social projects,...

  9. 4 ‘Conflict-Sensitive’ Aid & Making Liberal Peace
    (pp. 59-73)

    The notion of ‘conflict sensitivity’ has become increasingly integral to the provision of international humanitarian and developmental assistance to countries afflicted by political and communal violence. On the one hand, the principle of ‘do no harm’ (Anderson 1999) has been taken up by donors and agencies with the ethos that efforts to administer humanitarian relief or facilitate development should not exacerbate existing tensions or create new ones. On the other hand, going actively beyond this and driven by the now common, if contested, wisdom that underdevelopment and poverty lead to violence (OECD 2001), donors have sought to actively use aid...

  10. 5 Development, Poverty & Famines The Case of British Empire
    (pp. 74-87)

    It is now well known (despite little mention in recent major works, including the current Oxford History of the British Empire) that anything between 30 and 40 million persons died in the wake of famine in India in the half-century following Britain’s final military conquest of the Indian subcontinent in 1857. The earlier stages of the conquest and colonisation under the East India Company had also been marked by large-scale famines, in particular the shocking Bengal famine of 1769–70 in which something like 10 million people, or a third of the population, perished. The famines of 1784 (upper India),...

  11. 6 Plain Tales from the Reconstruction Site Spatial Continuities in Contemporary Humanitarian Practice
    (pp. 88-101)

    The idea of a ‘pure’ or natural disaster is a pervasive one. The occurrence of an ‘Act of God’ appears to be the one instance where international intervention is beyond criticism: the blamelessness of the victims translates into an ethical imperative for action on the part of the ‘international community’ to alleviate the resultant suffering (Edkins 2000). While it is possible to point to many instances of critique of political interventions (Mamdani 2007; Pugh 2005; Chandler 2006) and others who criticise the efficacy or appropriateness of certain modes of disaster relief (Duffield 1991; Edkins 2000; Keen 1994; De Waal 1997),...

  12. 7 The International Politics of Social Transformation Trusteeship & Intervention in Historical Perspective
    (pp. 102-115)

    The premise of this chapter is that colonialism was always in part about social transformation. Despite the tendency in recent history and social science writing to play down the idea of the ‘mission civilisatrice’ (for fairly obvious ideological reasons), its plausibility is prompted by a number of considerations. Firstly, the ending of the slave trade and the relative failure of ‘legitimate commerce’ provided the setting for the colonial experiment. Very crudely thinking about these matters was shaped by understandings of ‘civilisations’ and the absence of such in an Africa characterised by petty despotisms and endemic (quasi-criminal) conflict that was unable...

  13. 8 Liberal Interventionism & the Fragile State Linked by Design?
    (pp. 116-129)

    Following the international interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, a number of aid-related ideas concerned with working in difficult environments, or engaging with countries described as poor performers, or indeed the problems of fragile states have entered policy discourse (Torres and Anderson 2004; DCD 2004; DFID 2005). They attempt to describe the developmental challenge at a time when, despite the recent step-change in all forms of humanitarian, development and peace interventionism, it is still unclear whether any of these incursions have actually solved the larger political problems that gave rise to them(Smith 2006). Since ideas concerning difficult environments or poor performers...

  14. 9 Freedom, Fear & NGOs Balancing Discourses of Violence & Humanity in Securitising Times
    (pp. 130-145)

    This chapter aims to explore an approach for analysing NGOs’ roles in securitisation seen as a form of global governmentality. In recent years, most notably since 9/11 and the so-called ‘global war on terror’, many writers have noted that global security concerns have changed both in shape and in intensity (Abrahamsen 2004; Duffield, 2002; Higgott 2003), entering many different dimensions of political and economic life (Elbe 2004; Eriksson 2001), and with a range of new or transformed actors (Bislev et al. 2001; Leander 2006; Waever 2000). Didier Bigo (2002:63) has combined these insights with a Foucauldian governmentality analysis arguing that,...

  15. 10 Theorising Continuities between Empire & Development Toward a New Theory of History
    (pp. 146-160)

    At the risk of adding to an already voluminous literature, this chapter begins with a question: how is it that the promises of the short¹ twentieth century have ended in the return of empire? Accompanying and prompted by the terror wars is an emerging spate of academic literature, translated into public and popular discourse, narrating this contemporary moment as a ‘new’ era of imperialism (Cooper 2002a and b; Harvey 2003; Cox 2003a and b; Saull 2004; Mann 2004; Ikenberry 2004; wade 2004), for which it is largely apologetic, or a ‘new’ globalised Empire (Hardt and Negri 2001) which is distinct...

  16. 11 Spatial Practices & Imaginaries Experiences of Colonial Officers & Development Professionals
    (pp. 161-175)

    This chapter explores the spatiality of colonial and postcolonial power and discourse as produced, performed and imagined by former United Kingdom colonial service officers and contemporary international development ‘professionals’. It demonstrates temporal continuities and discontinuities in spatially extended practices and suggests that decolonisation, while a significant historical process, led to a reconfiguration of people, ideas and spaces rather than a wholesale epochal transformation. Accordingly, the trajectory from colonialism to development is more usefully characterised as a shift in emphasis (Crush 1995), rather than of one bounded historical moment to another. I highlight how both colonial officers in the latter days...

  17. 12 Decolonising the Borders in Sudan Ethnic Territories & National Development
    (pp. 176-187)

    Land was one of the central issues contributing to the recent civil wars in the Sudan, and it is an underestimated and overlooked factor determining the success or failure of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 (Pantuliano 2007: 3). Land has been central to the Sudan’s colonial and postcolonial development policies, and land access and land rights legislation changed as development policy changed. The systematic erosion of customary rights to land and access to land were powerful factors which drew different peoples on both sides of the North-South divide into the wider conflict, so that by the time...

  18. 13 ‘Individualism is, Indeed, Running Riot’ Components of the Social Democratic Model of Development
    (pp. 188-202)

    The political ascendancy of the neo-liberal agenda in development policy has reopened the debate over the trade-off between social cohesion and the extension of market relations. The disintegrating effects of capitalism has led to the reinvention of the ‘social’, to put in place mechanisms for stabilisation and integration. Social democracy has historically made the claim to provide these through collectivist solutions. The aim here is to identify how the British Labour Party translated this aspiration into its policy on Africa during the colonial period. In the origins of the party’s ideas on development, we can trace some of the assumptions...

  19. Index
    (pp. 203-212)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 213-213)