By Karuna Mantena
Alibis of Empire offers a unique account of the origins, substance, and afterlife of overdue imperial ideology. Karuna Mantena demanding situations the concept Victorian empire was once basically legitimated by means of liberal notions of development and civilization. actually, because the British Empire received its farthest achieve, its ideology was once being dramatically reworked by means of a self-conscious rejection of the liberal version. The cave in of liberal imperialism enabled a brand new culturalism that under pressure the risks and problems of attempting to "civilize" local peoples. And, hand in hand with this shift in considering was once a shift in perform towards versions of oblique rule. As Mantena indicates, the paintings of Victorian criminal pupil Henry Maine was once on the middle of those momentous adjustments. Alibis of Empire examines how Maine's sociotheoretic version of "traditional" society laid the basis for the culturalist common sense of past due empire. In charting the circulation from liberal idealism, via culturalist rationalization, to retroactive alibi inside nineteenth-century British imperial ideology, Alibis of Empire finds a amazing and pervasive dynamic of contemporary empire.
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Extra resources for Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism
Mill’s accounts of the various historical stages of civilization, and the sociological and psychological portraits attached to them, were never carefully elaborated. Although Mill’s characterizations were at times loosely reminiscent of the four-stage theory formulated by eighteenthcentury Scottish theorists, his portraits not only lacked their precision but also were motivated by very different concerns. 55 Rather, the portraits were more sociopsychological or culturally oriented, which, when taken in sequence, yielded a precarious, developmental logic that swung between the twin poles of excessive liberty and extreme slavery.
Maine argued that modern imperial rule had forced a direct confrontation between modern and traditional institutions, a confrontation that seemed to necessitate the dissolution of native society. Crucially, following 20 I N T R O D U C T I O N Maine, late imperial policy makers conceived of this dissolution as a major threat to the stability of the imperial order and thus implicated imperial rule in a political logic of protection, preservation, and restoration of traditional society. The chapter examines the speciﬁc ways this image of native society in dissolution was mobilized in the context of late imperial policy, ﬁrst in post-Mutiny India and later in Southeast Asia and colonial Africa.
The crisis of liberal imperialism was part and parcel of the waning of moral justiﬁcations of empire. ” In this context, new sociological and anthropological theories of native society proved particularly effective as alternative modes of imperial legitimation; they functioned less as justiﬁcations than as alibis for the fait accompli of empire. THE MORALITY OF EMPIRE . . at ﬁrst English power came among them unaccompanied by English morality. There was an interval between the time at which they became our subjects, and the time at which we began to reﬂect that we were bound to discharge towards them the duties of rulers.
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