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POLI 227 Chapter Notes -World Politics, Intensify, Power Balance

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 227
Rex Brynen

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Third World Politics (Clapham)
Colonialism is one of the only reasons we can intelligibly refer to the 3rd world as having any kind
of coherence- European colonialism created the global political and economic order
Imposition of Colonial Rule
- Technological basis, economic motive
- Western Europe created new technologies and forms of organization which enabled
them to control others and acquire wealth
3 types of colonialism:
1) Americas (rich in resources, easy to control)
2) Asia (rich but difficult to control)
3) Africa (poor and thus not really worth it for Europe)
American colonization
- Native populations were small to begin with and were virtually wiped out and
replaced with white settlers
- Destruction of native populations made European oriented economies/patterns of
external settlement possible
- US and Canada were temperate without easily exploitable mineral wealth so were
confined to European settlement
- Economies in South were dominated by slave labour and became dependent on it-
imported workers and left them to figure stuff out for themselves
- Latin America gained independence quite early- class has a high importance in the
culture due to high levels of urbanization/industrialization and weakness/abscence
of those linkages which bound followers to leaders and their replacement by
exploitative relations derived from elite control- the result here is to enhance the
state’s role and entrench a bureaucratic bourgeoise as guardians/beneficiaries
- Boundaries/borders were established very arbitrarily and did not take into account
indigenous societies or geographical zones
Structure of Colonial Government
- Political order with an administrative hierarchy
- Force as the main tool to ensure compliance
- Greatest force involved colonies of settlement accompanied by intensive production
Effect of colonial rule was psychological because it was only by accepting and understanding the
Europeans that they’d be able to defeat them
Administrative structure was both centralized and authoritarian
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- Ruler overseas channelled order at the local level through the governor, then
provincial commissioner to district commissioner then to local authorities
- Gave rise to top-down, imposed kind of politics
- Introduction of colonial economy gave rise to new social attitudes, institutions and
forms of communication which differentiated the colonized peoples from outside
- Liberation from colonialism often involved using colonial institutions
French Colonial Rule
- Centralization and assimilation coupled with egalitarian ideals of 1789
- Native cultures were seen as worthless now, but they should be given a chance to
assimilate because they were human beings too and everyone deserved equal
- French viewed inferiority as cultural rather than genetic
- Close ties with the natives because they had a very active role in their politics, so
they inevitably had to work with them- this created a sophisticated indigenous elite
British Colonial rule
- did not believe assimilation was possible due to genetic inferiority of natives
- ultimate goal was independence
- colonies were seen as having distinctive characteristics of their own, as moving at
their own pace towards different destinies
- indirect rule- relied on local authorities/coopted elite- couldn’t give them too much
power, however, or the colonial apparatus would be dismantled (Burma)
- indirect rule was cheap and pleased native rulers by moderating the impact of an
alien rule while also consolidating British power
Nationalism and Decolonization
- 2nd World War produced and reflected a drastic shift in international power and
status away from states of Western Europe and towards continental power
- Fading determination
- Anticolonial movements in Europe/US/Soviet Union
- Japanese victories shattered the myth of imperial invincibility
- Colonized were educated, especially at Western institutions, which gave them new
ideas and new identities- realized they could rise up
- They were mobilized by grievances and their ability to organize was influenced by
resources and mobilizing force
- People who mobilized were not desperately poor but not rich, they were generally
people with dashed hopes
- Deals were made with local leaders to gain power
Colonial Response and The Transfer of Power
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