Cultures of colonialism

Authored by: Nicholas Hoover Wilson , Lucas Azambuja

Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138288621
eBook ISBN: 9781315267784
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores recent work on the self-understandings of colonizer and colonized, the set of cultural tools they used to (mis)understand one another, and how both of these cultural domains related to material, symbolic, and institutional practices. This work discusses how empires acted to differentiate subject populations, how the complexion of this difference varied from the ancient empires to the present day, and how empires and their legacies have a fraught relationship with the basic categories of analysis in social science. Promising avenues for further scholarship are also noted, including the relative importance of culture as an explanatory factor in colonialism; the need to explain the transition between the role culture played in early-modern colonialism and its modern manifestations; and addressing the methodological challenge to orthodox social science posed by postcolonial criticism.

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