Colonialism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Chris Kortright Colonization and Identity. Colonial Conflict/Relationship and ( 4) the system of dominant-subordinate relationship is buttressed by a racist ideology. . He is helping these “backward' countries reach their evolutionary goal. is fundamentally flawed and, as a consequence, the goal of "racial equality" through . In the former case, there was a colonizer and a colonized, the "new. By Waziyatawin, Unsettling Ourselves “Colonial relations do not stem from individual Read: Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized.
Its key tools are racism and terror. Racism is ingrained in every colonial institution, and establishes the subhumanity of the colonizedfostering poor self-concepts in the colonized as well. By using terror to quell any reactionary uprising, the colonizers reinforce fear and submission. The colonial system favors population growth. In order to keep the salaries of the colonizers high and their cost of living low, there must be high competition among the native laborers.
In other words, the birth rate must rise in order for the system to perpetuate itself. Since all resources go to the colonizer despite the need for increased resources by the growing colonized population, the standard of living of the colonized inevitably goes down. The colonized could not rise above their social status and be permitted to assimilate: These candidates for assimilation will then support the side of the colonizer. The candidates for assimilation ultimately remain outcasts, however, because for the colonial system to perpetuate itself, it must not allow assimilation.
If the colonized had voting rights, for instance, as the majority they would have the ability to destroy the system. The Colonizer Three factors typify the colonizer who, according to Memmi, means any European in a colony: Europeans living in colonies often consider themselves to be in exile.
They are not inclined to leave the colony for their mother country, however, because they are able to live a more comfortable life in the colony. In the colony, he has superior status and his standard of living is far above what it would be in Europe. The colonizer is privileged and, he realizes his privilege is illegitimate. Therefore he is a usurper. The rise of anti-colonial political theory, however, required more than a universalistic ethic that recognized the shared humanity of all people.
As suggested above, the universalism of Thomism proved to be a relatively weak basis for criticizing colonialism. Given the tension between the abstract universalism of natural law and the actual cultural practices of indigenous peoples, it was easy to interpret native difference as evidence of the violation of natural law.
This in turn became a justification for exploitation. Diderot was one of the most forceful critics of European colonization. Diderot also challenges the dominant justifications for European colonialism. Although he grants that it is legitimate to colonize an area that is not actually inhabited, he insists that foreign traders and explorers have no right of access to fully inhabited lands.
This is important because the right to commerce understood to encompass not only trade but also missionary work and exploration was used as a justification for colonization by Spanish thinkers in the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
If the native peoples resisted these incursions, the Spanish could legitimately wage war and conquer their territory. The claim that all individuals are equally worthy of dignity and respect was a necessary but not sufficient basis for anti-imperialist thought. They also had to recognize that the tendency to develop diverse institutions, narratives, and aesthetic practices was an essential human capacity.
The French term moeurs or what today would be called culture captures the idea that the humanity of human beings is expressed in the distinctive practices that they adopt as solutions to the challenges of existence.
The work of enlightenment anti-imperialists such as Diderot and Kant reflects their struggle with the tension between universalistic concepts such as human rights and the realities of cultural pluralism. The paradox of enlightenment anti-imperialism is that human dignity is understood to be rooted in the universal human capacity for reason. Yet when people engage in cultural practices that are unfamiliar or disturbing to the European observer, they appear irrational and thus undeserving of recognition and respect.
In other words, he emphasized that human beings all share similar desires to create workable rules of conduct that allow particular ways of life to flourish without themselves creating harsh injustices and cruelties. Societies all need to find a way to balance individual egoism and sociability and to overcome the adversities that stem from the physical environment. From this perspective, culture itself, rather than rationality, is the universal human capacity.
Unlike many other eighteenth and nineteenth century political philosophers, Diderot did not assume that non-Western societies were necessarily primitive e. One of the key issues that distinguished critics from proponents of colonialism and imperialism was their view of the relationship between culture, history and progress.
Many of the influential philosophers writing in France and England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries had assimilated some version of the developmental approach to history that was associated with the Scottish Enlightenment. It would therefore be incorrect to conclude that a developmental theory of history is distinctive of the liberal tradition; nevertheless, given that figures of the Scottish Enlightenment such as Ferguson and Smith were among its leading expositors, it is strongly associated with liberalism.
Smith himself opposed imperialism for economic reasons. He felt that relations of dependence between metropole and periphery distorted self-regulating market mechanisms and worried that the cost of military domination would be burdensome for taxpayers Pitts The idea that civilization is the culmination of a process of historical development, however, proved useful in justifying imperialism. According to Uday Mehta, liberal imperialism was the product of the interaction between universalism and developmental history A core doctrine of liberalism holds that all individuals share a capacity for reason and self-government.
The theory of developmental history, however, modifies this universalism with the notion that these capacities only emerge at a certain stage of civilization McCarthy For example, according to John Stuart Mill hereafter Millsavages do not have the capacity for self-government because of their excessive love of freedom.
Serfs, slaves, and peasants in barbarous societies, on the other hand, may be so schooled in obedience that their capacity for rationality is stifled. Only commercial society produces the material and cultural conditions that enable individuals to realize their potential for freedom and self-government. According to this logic, civilized societies like Great Britain are acting in the interest of less-developed peoples by governing them.
Mill, a life-long employee of the British East India Company, recognized that despotic government by a foreign people could lead to injustice and economic exploitation. These abuses, if unchecked, could undermine the legitimacy and efficacy of the imperial project. In Considerations on Representative GovernmentMill identifies four reasons why foreign e. European peoples are not suited to governing colonies.
First, foreign politicians are unlikely to have the knowledge of local conditions that is necessary to solve problems of public policy effectively. Second, given cultural, linguistic, and often religious differences between colonizers and colonized, the colonizers are unlikely to sympathize with the native peoples and are likely to act tyrannically.
Third, even if the colonizers really try to treat the native peoples fairly, their natural tendency to sympathize with those similar to themselves other foreign colonists or merchants would likely lead to distorted judgment in cases of conflict.
Finally, according to Mill, colonists and merchants go abroad in order to acquire wealth with little effort or risk, which means that their economic activity often exploits the colonized country rather than developing it.
Recent scholarship, however, has challenged the view of Burke as an opponent of imperialism. Members of this specialized body would have the training to acquire relevant knowledge of local conditions. Paid by the government, they would not personally benefit from economic exploitation and could fairly arbitrate conflicts between colonists and indigenous people.
Memmi, Albert – Postcolonial Studies
Mill, however, was not able to explain how to ensure good government where those wielding political power were not accountable to the population. Nineteenth century liberal thinkers held a range of views on the legitimacy of foreign domination and conquest.
Colonies would provide an outlet for excess population that caused disorder in France. Tocqueville also suggested that imperial endeavors would incite a feeling of patriotism that would counterbalance the modern centrifugal forces of materialism and class conflict. Tocqueville was actively engaged in advancing the project of French colonization of Algeria. As a member of the Chamber of Deputies, Tocqueville argued in favor of expanding the French presence in Algeria.
Instead, Tocqueville defended controversial tactics such as the destruction of crops, confiscation of land, and seizure of unarmed civilians. The stability of the regime, he felt, depended on the ability of the colonial administration to provide good government to the French settlers.
Tocqueville emphasized that the excessive centralization of decision-making in Paris combined with the arbitrary practices of the local military leadership meant that French colonists had no security of property, let alone the political and civil rights that they were accustomed to France. Tocqueville was untroubled by the use of martial law against indigenous peoples, but felt that it was counterproductive when applied to the French.
For Tocqueville, the success of the French endeavor in Algeria depended entirely on attracting large numbers of permanent French settlers. Given that it was proving impossible to win the allegiance of the indigenous people, France could not hold Algeria without creating a stable community of colonists. The natives were to be ruled through military domination and the French were to be enticed to settle through the promise of economic gain in an environment that reproduced, as much as possible, the cultural and political life of France.
Recent scholarship has also drawn attention to the writings of less canonical figures Bell Mothercountry, Keally McBride focuses on the career of James Stephen and uses new archival research to explore the gap between the practice of colonial administration and the ideal of the rule of law.
In Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism, Karuna Mantena challenges the idea that liberal notions of progress and civilization played a central role in the justification of Victorian empire. Mantena shows that the work of Victorian legal scholar Henry Maine played an important role in the shift toward a new culturalism that emphasized the dangers and difficulties of trying to civilize native peoples.
Marxism and Leninism In recent years, scholars have devoted less attention to the debates on colonialism within the Marxist tradition. This reflects the waning influence of Marxism in the academy and in political practice.
Marxism, however, has influenced both post-colonial theory and anti-colonial independence movements around the world. Marxists have drawn attention to the material basis of European political expansion and developed concepts that help explain the persistence of economic exploitation after the end of direct political rule. Although Marx never developed a theory of colonialism, his analysis of capitalism emphasized its inherent tendency to expand in search of new markets.
In his classic works such as The Communist Manifesto, Grundrisse, and Capital, Marx predicted that the bourgeoisie would continue to create a global market and undermine both local and national barriers to its own expansion. Expansion is a necessary product of the core dynamic of capitalism: Competition among producers drives them to cut wages, which in turn leads to a crisis of under-consumption. The only way to prevent economic collapse is to find new markets to absorb excess consumer goods.
From a Marxist perspective, some form of imperialism is inevitable. By exporting population to resource rich foreign territories, a nation creates a market for industrial goods and a reliable source of natural resources.
Alternately, weaker countries can face the choice of either voluntarily admitting foreign products that will undermine domestic industry or submitting to political domination, which will accomplish the same end. In a series of newspaper articles published in the s in the New York Daily Tribune, Marx specifically discussed the impact of British colonialism in India. His analysis was consistent with his general theory of political and economic change.
He described India as an essentially feudal society experiencing the painful process of modernization. He reached this conclusion because he believed incorrectly that agricultural land in India was owned communally. According to Marx, oriental despotism emerged in India because agricultural productivity depended on large-scale public works such as irrigation that could only be financed by the state.
Colonization and Identity
This meant that the state could not be easily replaced by a more decentralized system of authority. This image is a good example of how the colonizer justifies his actions. This image becomes the excuse for the colonial situation because without such images the actions of the colonialist would appear shocking.
The image of the lazy native is a useful myth on many levels; it raises the colonizer and humbles the colonized. The image is that the colonized are unbearably lazy; in contrast the colonizer is always in action. It implies that the employment of the colonized is not very profitable, therefore justifying the unbearable wages paid to them.
The logical assertion would be that colonization would profit more by employing experienced workers, but this is not the case.
It is more profitable to use the labor of three of the colonized and pay them less than what would be paid to one colonialist. Therefore the colonialist becomes the specialist, and the colonized become the laborers.
Dependancy Complex of the Colonized Dependancy Theory is when the colonizing states exploit their colonizing regions that enhance their own development and accumulation of capital. When wealth and resources are extracted from the colony, colonist stunts the development or undo past development.
This lack of development or modernization is placed on the colonized as their failure to be able to compete with the colonial state. What development that does occur is then distorted by a dependancy relationship and creates both internal and external problems to the local communities, thus creating an image of inadequacy upon the colonized.
The colonial states manipulate the industrialization process in order to increase their profits, by undermining the local autonomy of the native population.
Often they control supplies and resources available to the colonized community, forcing them to produce cash-crops instead of food, then sell food at an inflated price to the native population. This not only makes the colonized dependent psychologically, but also dependent on the colonial system for basic resources. Between these two worlds are the policeman and the soldier, they are the true officials and liaisons of the colonial system.
The dividing lines between these two separate worlds are the barricades, barbed wire and police stations. The Settler Village The settler town is strong; it is made of stone and steel, and the streets are covered in asphalt. The town is brightly lit. The streets are clean and the people are clean. They are all well clothed and well feed. Education is a given in this world.
The colonized are born there, and die there with no notice or thought given to them. It is rarely open, the space is cramped and stifling both mentally and physically. The people live on top of each other, hungry, malnourished, barely clothed. There are next to no streetlights and darkness is not only a physical but psychological reality. The walls that are built to keep the natives out of the settler town, in fact keep them in the squaller of the native town.
There is no way out of this village. The barbed wire and lack of education, hand in hand with skin color, makes sure the doors are closed and the colonized stay in their village. There is a necessary reason for this. But this decolonization cannot just be of the colonized, this process must be also of the colonizer.
White people need to deconstruct their culture and ideologies because the stratification is founded and maintained in our hegemony in regards of this culture of colonization. The new relationships are not the result of one barbarism replacing another barbarism, of one crushing of man replacing another crushing of man.
What we Algerians want is to discover the man behind the colonizer; this man who is both the organizer and the victim of a system that has chocked him and and reduced him to silence. As for us, we have long sense rehabilitated the Algerian colonized man.