Domination of Strangers: Modern Governance in Eastern India, 1780-1835

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Offering a major new interpretation of the transformation of political thought and practice in colonial India, The Domination of Strangers traces the origins of modern ideas about the state and Indian civil society to the practical interaction between the British and their south Asian subjects.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

'This elegantly written and thought-provoking book opens up new perspectives on changes in colonial governance in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Eastern India. Innovatively applying a reading of Georg Simmels essay on The Stranger to the colonial context in India, it characterises these changes in terms of ambivalent and contradictory responses to a practical and semantic crisis in the East India Companys relations with Eastern Indian society. This important book also sheds new light on other areas of debate (such as the Anglicist-Orientalist controversy) by relocating these in the context of this crisis of governance. In addition, it brings its conclusions to bear on a wider comparative framework that discusses the differences and similarities between non-colonial regimes in continental Europe and Britain, and the colonial regime in India. As such, its breadth of perspective combined with focussed archival readings will appeal to historians of both modern South Asia and Britain, and to those who are interested in the issue of modern governance as a whole.'
 - Javed Majeed, Queen Mary, University of London, UK 

“Innovative and stimulating.. The Domination of Strangers is a remarkably evocative book.   Its methodological suggestiveness – both in its particular understanding of what marks a ‘modern’ state as well as its arguments that the history of political thought must attend not just to abstract philosophy or to its reception, but to the ideas produced out of political practice of those in the middle who did the governing  - will make it quite stimulating reading both within colonial history and beyond it.”

Philip Stern, Reviews in History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230574533
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/25/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

JON E WILSON is Lecturer in History at Kings College London. He has degrees in both history and anthropology. His research focuses on the history of modern South Asia, especially Bengal, its relationship to global social and intellectual forces and their contemporary political and philosophical implications.

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Table of Contents

Maps and Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
Comparing Eighteenth-Century Political Societies
Crisis, Anxiety and the Making of a New Order
Colonial Indecision and the Origins of the Hindu Joint Family
Governing the Power of Proprietors
The State as Machine and the Ambivalent Origins of Colonial Reform
Indian Liberalism and Colonial Utilitarianism

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