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Authored by: Olivia U. Rutazibwa , Robbie Shilliam

Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Politics

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138944596
eBook ISBN: 9781315671192
Adobe ISBN:


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The independence and liberation movements following the Second World War ultimately established the state as the almost-universal form of governance. However, this state was configured by and large – and not without the pursuit of other experiments such as federation – as an ideal-type of that produced in European history. The ‘proper’ state would be framed by hard and impermeable borders that cut through existing social formations and migratory routes; it was to govern from a central and singular point, and project political power only from there; and it was to distinguish an impersonal public realm from private lives and enterprises. Such organisational predicates were always more the ideal in Europe (and North America) than a historical reality. But in the postcolonial world, the state was erected on arguably even more uneven ground, especially, the bifurcated systems of colonial rule that distinguished between governing citizens and a multitude of governed subjects, often along invented racialised, ethnic and religious lines. The chapters in this Part all engage with the various contestations that have accompanied the imposition/importation of state rule within imperial constellations and colonial contexts.

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