Denise Fisher

France, which is both an external and resident South Pacific power by virtue of its possessions there, pursues, or simply inherits, multiple strategic benefits. But the strategic context has changed in recent years. China's increased presence; consequent changes in the engagement of the US, Japan and Taiwan; and the involvement of other players in the global search for resources, means that France is one of many more with influence and interests in a region considered by some as a backwater. These shifts in a way heighten the value of France's strategic returns, while impacting on France's capacity to exert influence and pursue its own objectives in the region. At the same time, France is dealing with demands for greater autonomy and even independence from its two most valuable overseas possessions on which its influence is based, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. How it responds to these demands will directly shape the nature of its future regional presence, which is a strategic asset.

Christian Olsson

In this study, we try to apply the genealogical methodology to the analysis of French, British and American military discourse on the « pacification of populations » from the xixth century until today. The objective is indeed to analyse and problematise the colonial continuities that the leitmotiv of the « hearts and minds » reveals. We do this by focusing on the « moments » that have framed and reframed the social uses and significations of this leitmotiv: firstly, the « moment » of colonial conquest ; then, the « moment » of the wars of decolonization ; finally, the « moment » of western interventionism in postcolonial states. While highlighting the colonial continuities of military practice, our main conclusion is that the meanings of the leitmotiv are extremely variable and always subjected to contradictory interpretations. The genealogy of the « hearts and minds » hence draws attention to its many discontinuities. It particularly shows how the postcolonial « moment » has subverted its colonial meanings.

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.

Julien Meimon

In the turbulent international context of the late 1950s, the French 5th Republic and its leaders orchestrated the end of the colonial system, i.e. all of its emblematic institutions: the French “Overseas” ministry and minister, the administrative corps of colonial functionaries and standard recruitment path (the École nationale de la France d’outre-mer) disappeared, setting the stage for a new, fairly complex system labeled “Coopération.” The ministry of the same name was to play a major role up until the end of the 20th century. This new system, which came about as a result of the breakup of the colonial empire, is closely related to the issue of development aid and relies essentially on civil servants having received their training in the colonial institutions and seeking for redeployment. This study analyzes the paradox of a “new policy” embodied by officials infused with a colonial culture, focusing on their reconversion in terms of deeds and discourse. This will point up one of the initial weaknesses of France’s African policy and one of the reasons that it has slowly crumbled.

The field of colonial studies has gone through tremendous theoretical upheavals in the past three decades. Yet something is still too often missing in the study of 17th, 18th and 19th century situations of colonial or imperial “encounter”, namely this vernacular domain of thought and actions that was kept out of reach of the colonizer’s power and knowledge tools, and that was not geared toward the (whether coerced or not) commercial, political or military interaction with the Europeans. Nevertheless, it is only by focusing on this vernacular (rather than “native” or “indigenous”) hors-champ of the colonial situation that one can achieve a better understanding of the multi-layered historicity of extraeuropean societies. This perspective indeed allows us to make sense of the “colonial moment” of these societies with regards not only to their encounter with Europe, but also to their own long-term ideological and political trajectories (trajectories that began long before the arrival of the Europeans and that never can be wholly equated with the effects and consequences of the latter). This research agenda moreover helps us to get back to a more nuanced and historically accurate view of the initial precariousness and “leopard-skin” style dissemination of European colonial power. Lastly, it enables us to get beyond the now dominant paradigm of the “indigenous appropriation of colonial/European modernity” and its old-fashioned utilitarian language of “native agency” by investigating the local, vernacular visions of the self and of history that were put to use in the tactical engagement with, or avoidance of, colonial rule.

Since the war began in 2002, an unprecedented social movement has taken hold in the Ivory Coast, the "Patriotic Youth," that rallies around a violent ultranationalist and anti-colonialist discourse. Supported by mass organizations that control the urban areas, the Patriotic Youth have become central political actors and a shock weapon used by the government in power. While acknowledging this political instrumentalization, the Etude goes beyond functionalist interpretations of the Patriotic Youth phenomenon in attempt to grasp the driving sociological forces and assess their scope. Based on unpublished surveys conducted in Abidjan among grassroots activists of the "Patriotic galaxy," it demonstrates that also at stake in this grand nationalist fervor is the emergence of a new political generation, involving FESCI student unionism, which today makes violent claims to rights and social recognition. In this hypothesis, the anti-colonialist register is used as a vocabulary expressing generational revolution and emancipation of a fraction of the youth that has experimented with violence in union struggles and in war. It concludes by examining the influence of this phenomenon with regard to a possible resolution of the crisis. Beyond its institutional dimensions, the Ouagadougou accord paves the way for a change of political generation, the "Fescists" – both patriots and rebels – who have managed to impose themselves on the heirs of Houphouetism.

Rémi Castets

With a substantial Uyghur population, Xinjiang (East Turkistan) is, after Uzbekistan, the second largest Muslim Turkic-speaking area of settlement area in Central Asia. Annexed by China fairly late, this territory has a tumultuous history punctuated by foreign interference and separatist insurrections. Through strict control of the regional political system and a massive influx of Han settlers, the communist regime has managed to integrate this strategic region and its large oil deposits into the rest of China. However, over the past twenty years, unrest in Xinjiang has dramatically intensified. Less familiar to Western countries than the problem of Tibet, the Uyghur question is nevertheless a deeper source of concern for the Chinese authorities. After a long media blackout about this unrest until September 11, 2001, the Chinese government issued a series of documents attempting to depict the Uyghur opposition as an outside terrorist force linked to transnational Islamist terrorist networks. This rhetoric, which portrays the current unrest as a foreign attempt to destabilize the region, conceals a deep socio-political malaise and an opposition that actually takes on a far different shape from the vision official discourse tries to impose.

The state in Africa and in Asia is often conceived of as a "purely imported product" to use the accepted expression of Bertrand Badie and Pierre Birnbaum. However rather than limit ourselves to accounts of some kind of "failed universalisation", questions should rather be raised concerning state creation as a historical process, one which is conflictual, unintentional, generally unconscious and, as a result, often paradoxical. Indeed the argument that the state is fundamentally extraneous cannot be maintained in the light of recent historical and anthropological research. From this research it would seem that institutions of European origin have acquired their own social roots and have become culturally appropriated. They thus must be examined within the "long term" time framework suggested by Braudel, on condition that certain methodological precautions are taken into account.Three ways can be envisaged for reconstituting the historical trajectories of the state in Africa and Asia: as a continuous civilisational process, as expressions of social inequality or cultural configurations of politics. However while an understanding of cultural historicity is a precondition for understanding political historicity it should not, with all due respect to intellectual trendmakers, lead to culturalist explanations. Foucault's concept of gouvernementalité provides a more promising problematic, one which places the creation of the state in relationship to the process of ascribing it with a subjective quality as well as the imaginary dimension of politics. Both of these have to be grasped within their connection to the material.

Sudipta Kaviraj

Western theories of democracy are not always helpful in studying Third World democracy. One promising way to undertake analysis is to consider democracy not as a political system but as a "language". Whilst in India the written constitution was inspired by models developed in the West, in practice Indian democracy is not based on the values of individualism associated with a liberal ideology. Indeed, initially the nation itself and, afterwards, social groups were considered as the basic units of the political process. This was particularly the case in the early post-independance period under Gandhi's inspiration for he regarded the nation as being composed of traditional communities. Later Nehru would abandon liberal values as a part of a leftist critique, one that would favorize state intervention. Nevertheless the stronger state was not able to undertake the expected redistributive measures due to the conservatism of the Congress Party "bosses " who were above all the representatives of a ruling coalition of large landholders, a capitalist bourgeoisie and the public service elite. The only real sign of progress prior to Nehru's death was the replacement of the first element by an upwardly mobile group of wealthier peasant farmers. Through her populist discourse, Indira Gandhi was able to veer Indian democracy towards greater centralisation and a more pronounced personality cult. As a result the democratic process was discredited and a State of Emergency declared in 1975. The return to democracy in 1977 did not reverse these trends, at least until the liberalisation of 1991. Today Indian democracy remains threatened by powerful groups, the Hindus and the lower castes who, in the name of "majority rights", seek to take power and keep it once and for all. This would amount to ousting minorities from the decision-making process

In a period of increasing complexity the nation-state as the basic unit of international relations analysis is increasingly under challenge. The pressures of globalisation and the seemingly related phenomenon of regionalisation ostensibly call into question the very idea of national sovereignty and thus the role of national political actors. Yet the nation-state remains, national political actors- playing above all to a national audience - continuing to be preoccupied with the articulation and defense of so-called national interests and, as an often unstated corollary, a national identity. In this paper the author analyses the experiences of a multicultural and multiethnic Southeast Asian nation-state, Malaysia, in an attempt to explain the linkages between the global, regional and national in the area of foreign relations. In doing so he underlines the fundamental importance of the imperatives of nation-building in defining and, above all, in articulating foreign policy. He concentrates on Malaysian participation in four groupings: ASEAN, the Organisation of Islamic Conference, the Non-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth. He then turns to the "Look East" policy formulated by Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir, and its organisational expression in his proposal for an East Asian Economic Caucus. In doing so the author draws attention to the imperatives arising from Malaysian society and the double role of a Malaysian Prime Minister: defender of the interests of the politically dominant ethnic group, the Malays, and leader of a multiethnic coalition. He suggests that regionalism represents not merely a compromise between the global and the national but, expressed in identity terms, a means of reinventing the nation-state itself

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