Anti-Colonial Nationalism

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  • Created on: 18-05-18 11:58

Difference between studying anti-colonial national

Martin Thomas:

Key point: Argues the issue is with the term decolonisation.

  • Most treatments in the english language focus on the British Empire
  • Apparently a neutral term, takes on a more loaded political meaning when attempted to define process of colonial collapse? end of empire?
  • Some appraoches write colonial populations out of the script of their own transitions to national independence.

Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale

Key point: Argues the issue is with the historiography.

  • European historians often write of decolonisation, rather than idependence - implies Africa's freedom owes more to Western strategy than African effort.
  • E.g. Imperial historians had little to say about African politics, beyond Western estimates of whether they were radical or not. BUT, conventional wisdom ignores the degree to which Africa has been shaped by its connections with the rest of the world.
  • Capitalism, nationalism, state-building, globalisation have all affected Africa as much as rest of world.
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Difference between studying anti-colonial national

Jean Allman:

Key Point: the original narrative views were discredited almost as soon as they were published.

  • African decolonisation unfolded as a transnational, not just imperial story.
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Anti-colonial Nationalism a top-down movement?

Martin Thomas:

Key point: The significance of colonial subjects has been lost in some approaches but their importance cannot be denied.

  • Cannot be argued plausibly that the British elite forsaw the two intense phases of British colonial withdrawal.
  • Supposedly nationalist elites that typically took office after independence were often complicit in allowing foreign states and corporate interests to retain their hold over the economic destiny of former colonial states.

Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale:

Key Point: argues the influence of colonial subjects was significant but also affected significantly in some ways by the West.

  • Colonial rulers couldn't dictate the process of the ethnic formation. Each adminstrative district ideally contained a single homogenous 'tribe'. It was not quite like that
  • Some administrative boundaries did produce 'distinct tribes', or still larger ones (e.g. Luba in the Congo).
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Anti-colonial Nationalism a top-down movement?

  • But Africans had their own ideas. Large newly self-conscious ethnicities, substantial expansions of political scale, like the Yoruba of Nigeria, began to acquire political awareness of their own to which colonial rule had to to adjust.
  • BUT, when international institutions and Western States changed the rules of commerce in the 1980s, but especially damaging to Africa.

Jean Allman:

Key Point: Examines recent scholarship and values the new interpretation.

  • Africanist historians began to focus on lives of ordinary women and men during the colonial period and follow these stories into the era of nationalist mobilisation.
  • Demonstrated the authors of national dreams weren't only political parties and their leaders.
  • Recent scholarship has even brought into focus new political actors who have seldom been taken very seriously, including the role of youth in both imagining and contesting nation dreams.

Frederick Cooper:

Key Point: in the political imagination of workers, peasants, urban women, we trace modernisation, goals and struggles that do not always fit neatly within the nationalist rubric.

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Role of international organisations and networks?

Martin Thomas:

Key point: contributed positively and negatively.

  • Formal transfers of power were accompanied by international recognition, even material aid, to newly independent states that had yet to assemble fundamental building blocks of state sovereignty.
  • Resut was proliferation of 'quasi-states' - legally recognised, but barely functioning as ordered governments (Robert H. Jackson).

Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale:

Key point: Intially pursued nation-building with the state-centered 'development' strategies recommended by international economical industries.

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Martin Thomas:

Key point: both positive and negative.

  • Quasi-states
  • At best, some measure of economic and military reliance on client states, outside agencies or even former colonial power was bound to follow the formal group of indepence.
  • At worst, newly sovereign states entered a new era of neo-colonialism in which rival superpowers and former colonial rulers sought to impose regional dominance and privileged access to trade and investment.

Bruce Berman and John Lonsdale:

Key point: only negative effects.

  • Modern state failed to develop effectively in Africa because it was 'artificially' imposed by the colonial conquest that ruptured the 'natural' evolution of Africa.
  • Primordial ties and identities of ancient tribal cultures have, in response, overwhelmed the weak national identities of post-colonial states.
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