Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India

Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India

by Ranajit Guha
     
 

What is colonialism and what is a colonial state? Ranajit Guha points out that the colonial state in South Asia was fundamentally different from the metropolitan bourgeois state which sired it. The metropolitan state was hegemonic in character, and its claim to dominance was based on a power relation in which persuasion outweighed coercion.… See more details below

Overview

What is colonialism and what is a colonial state? Ranajit Guha points out that the colonial state in South Asia was fundamentally different from the metropolitan bourgeois state which sired it. The metropolitan state was hegemonic in character, and its claim to dominance was based on a power relation in which persuasion outweighed coercion. Conversely, the colonial state was non-hegemonic, and in its structure of dominance coercion was paramount. Indeed, the originality of the South Asian colonial state lay precisely in this difference: a historical paradox, it was an autocracy set up and sustained in the East by the foremost democracy of the Western world. It was not possible for that non-hegemonic state to assimilate the civil society of the colonized to itself. Thus the colonial state, as Guha defines it in this closely argued work, was a paradox--a dominance without hegemony.

Dominance without Hegemony had a nationalist aspect as well. This arose from a structural split between the elite and subaltern domains of politics, and the consequent failure of the Indian bourgeoisie to integrate vast areas of the life and consciousness of the people into an alternative hegemony. That predicament is discussed in terms of the nationalist project of anticipating power by mobilizing the masses and producing an alternative historiography. In both endeavors the elite claimed to speak for the people constituted as a nation and sought to challenge the pretensions of an alien regime to represent the colonized. A rivalry between an aspirant to power and its incumbent, this was in essence a contest for hegemony.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674214828
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
01/28/1998
Series:
Convergences: Inventories of the Present
Pages:
268
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.73(h) x 0.93(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Note on Transliteration
1Colonialism in South Asia: A Dominance without Hegemony and Its Historiography1
IConditions for a Critique of Historiography1
IIParadoxes of Power23
IIIDominance without Hegemony: The Colonialist Moment60
IVPreamble to an Autocritique95
2Discipline and Mobilize: Hegemony and Elite Control in Nationalist Campaigns100
IMobilization and Hegemony100
IISwadeshi Mobilization108
IIIMobilization for Non-cooperation122
IVGandhian Discipline135
VConclusion150
3An Indian Historiography of India: Hegemonic Implications of a Nineteenth-Century Agenda152
ICalling on Indians to Write Their Own History152
IIHistoriography and the Formation of a Colonial State156
IIIColonialism and the Languages of the Colonized176
IVHistoriography and the Question of Power193
VA Failed Agenda210
Notes215
Glossary233
Index241

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