Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/132873
Title: Governors, Native Resistance and the Rationalities of Colonial State Formation
Authors: Goh, D. 
Issue Date: 13-Dec-2016
Source: Goh, D. (2016-12-13). Governors, Native Resistance and the Rationalities of Colonial State Formation. Governors, Native Resistance and the Rationalities of Colonial State Formation. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Atul Kohli's "State Directed Development" (2005) & George Steinmetz's "The Devil's Handwriting" (forthcoming) exemplify two competing approaches to explaining colonial state formation. Kohli emphasizes the political-economic rationality of metropolitan interests, while Steinmetz emphasizes the cultural rationality of ethnographic representations. This paper bridges the approaches by focusing on colonial governors, who wielded extraordinary powers to bend alien societies to metropolitan will. Both approaches neglect the role played by native resistance in "interfering" in the rationalities of colonial governing. Contrary to conventional understanding of resistance as specific events or political action, I argue that native resistance is an undercurrent of anti-colonial practices. This undercurrent has to be interpreted by governors in the frames of both political-economic interests & ethnographic representations, therefore creating contradictory rationalities & political controversies over policy. The rationalities create the field of political conflict, in which the interactions of metropolitan, colonialist & native social actors play out to produce state formation outcomes. I use the cases of two governors' controversial tenure in two colonies that evince contrastive political trajectories: Leonard Wood's failed attempt to reassert centralized American rule in the Philippines (1920-27); Cecil Clementi's failed attempt to rationalize British rule in Malaya through decentralization (1930-34).
Source Title: Governors, Native Resistance and the Rationalities of Colonial State Formation
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/132873
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