Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations

Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations

Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations

Political Theories of Decolonization: Postcolonialism and the Problem of Foundations

Synopsis

Political Theories of Decolonizationprovides an introduction to some of the seminal texts of postcolonial political theory. The difficulty of founding a new regime is an important theme in political theory, and the intellectual history of decolonization provides a rich--albeit overlooked--opportunity to explore it.

Many theorists have pointed out that the colonized subject was a divided subject. This book argues that the postcolonial state was a divided state. While postcolonial states were created through the struggle for independence, they drew on both colonial institutions and reinvented pre-colonial traditions.Political Theories of Decolonizationilluminates how many of the central themes of political theory such as land, religion, freedom, law, and sovereignty are imaginatively explored by postcolonial thinkers. In doing so, it provides readers access to texts that add to our understanding of contemporary political life and global political dynamics.

Excerpt

This book was inspired by the observation that postcolonial political theories had not found their way onto the syllabi of standard courses in political theory with much frequency. This is particularly remarkable considering how many of the more vibrant issues in contemporary political thought—such as global justice, multicultural citizenship, and human rights—would be enriched by postcolonial perspectives.

Even more, it is clear that the legacy of colonialism and the movements for independence continue to significantly shape political regimes around the globe. Anticolonial movements critiqued and revolted against the unequal distribution of power in the world. They were less successful at generating alternative, more equitable modes of distributing power, which is what decolonization, understood as truly ending the disparities of colonialism, would entail. Decolonization is unrealized, but not necessarily unrealizable. This means we have an arguably pressing responsibility to reconsider its aspirations. Decolonization, the dream of self rule, is the most recent incarnation of the long-standing project to achieve political freedom and therefore deserves a prominent place in the discipline of political theory. Political theories of decolonization provide extended ruminations about the challenges of founding a new polity that is more just, and they have the potential to deepen how political theorists understand core concepts such as freedom, equality, sovereignty, and the rule of law.

COLONIAL CRITIQUE AND POLITICAL THEORY

Some of the recent scholarship in political theory has focused on the treatment of colonialism in the writings of canonical thinkers such as Locke, Burke, Mill . . .

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