Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-1940 (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

Violence and Colonial Order: Police, Workers and Protest in the European Colonial Empires, 1918-1940 (Critical Perspectives on Empire)

By: Thomas Martin (author)Paperback

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This is a pioneering, multi-empire account of the relationship between the politics of imperial repression and the economic structures of European colonies between the two World Wars. Ranging across colonial Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, Martin Thomas explores the structure of local police forces, their involvement in colonial labour control and the containment of uprisings and dissent. His work sheds new light on broader trends in the direction and intent of colonial state repression. It shows that the management of colonial economies, particularly in crisis conditions, took precedence over individual imperial powers' particular methods of rule in determining the forms and functions of colonial police actions. The politics of colonial labour thus became central to police work, with the depression years marking a watershed not only in local economic conditions but also in the breakdown of the European colonial order more generally.

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About Author

Martin Charles Thomas is Professor of Colonial History in the Department of History at the University of Exeter. He is a director of the University's Centre for the Study of War, State and Society, an interdisciplinary research centre that supports research into the impact of armed conflict and collective violence on societies and communities.


Introduction: police, labour and colonial violence; Part I. Ideas and Practices: 1. Colonial policing: a discursive framework; 2. 'What did you do in the colonial police force, daddy?' Policing inter-war dissent; 3. 'Paying the butcher's bill': policing British colonial protest after 1918; Part II. Colonial Case Studies: French, British and Belgian: 4. Gendarmes: work and policing in French North Africa after 1918; 5. Policing Tunisia: mineworkers, fellahs and nationalist protest; 6. Rubber, coolies and communists: policing disorder in French Vietnam; 7. Stuck together? Rubber production, labour regulation and policing in Malaya; 8. Caning the workers? Policing and violence in Jamaica's sugar industry; 9. Oil and order: repressive violence in Trinidad's oilfields; 10. Profits, privatization and police: the birth of Sierra Leone's diamond industry; 11. Policing and politics in Nigeria: the political economy of indirect rule, 1929-39; 12. Depression and revolt: policing the Belgian Congo; Conclusion; Notes to the text.

Product Details

  • publication date: 14/05/2015
  • ISBN13: 9781107519541
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 540
  • ID: 9781107519541
  • weight: 720
  • ISBN10: 1107519543

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