De la pacification coloniale aux opérations extérieures

Auteur(s) : 

Christian Olsson

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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.

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