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Les sciences sociales et le " moment colonial " : de la problématique de la domination coloniale à celle de l'hégémonie impériale

Abstract : The idea that the colonial past keeps surfacing in contemporary political situations has been turned by some post(-)colonial theoreticians and militant writers into an irrefutable statement of fact. Yet this analytical stance is supported by little empirically grounded research. A host of creative new literature about modern age "colonial situations" indeed help us reach a better, more nuanced understanding of what colonial domination was all about. But they often fail to capture the vernacular, non-European historicity of the "colonial encounter". In the case of Southeast Asia, local political societies were engaged in state-formation processes long before the arrival of the Europeans: In Insulindia and in Indochina, there actually existed local imperial societies, into which the European colonial order of things became embedded. Viewed from this perspective, the "colonial situation" was a moment in long-term Euro-Asiatic imperial histories that mixed together numerous and sometimes contradictory understandings of imperial power and prowess. Talking about imperial hegemonies hence might help us escape modernist analytical dead-ends.
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Romain Bertrand. Les sciences sociales et le " moment colonial " : de la problématique de la domination coloniale à celle de l'hégémonie impériale. 2006. ⟨hal-01065637⟩

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