Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts

By Bill Ashcroft; Gareth Griffiths et al. | Go to book overview

I

imperialism In its most general sense, imperialism refers to the formation of an empire, and, as such, has been an aspect of all periods of history in which one nation has extended its domination over one or several neighbouring nations. Edward Said uses imperialism in this general sense to mean 'the practice, theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory', (Said 1993:8), a process distinct from colonialism, which is 'the implanting of settlements on a distant territory'. However, there is general agreement that the word imperialism, as a conscious and openly advocated policy of aquiring colonies for economic, strategic and political advantage, did not emerge until around 1880. Before that date, the term 'empire' (particularly the British variety) conjured up an apparently benevolent process of European expansion whereby colonies accrued rather than were acquired. Around the mid-nineteenth century, the term 'imperialism' was used to describe the government and policies of Napoleon III, self-styled 'emperor', and by 1870 was used disparagingly in disputes between the political parties in Britain. But from the 1880s imperialism became a dominant and more transparently aggressive policy amongst European states for a variety of political, cultural and economic reasons.

The expansionist policies pursued by the modern industrial powers from 1880 have been described as 'classical imperialism' (Baumgart 1982:5). The year 1885, when the Berlin

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Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Routledge Key Guides ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Key Concepts vii
  • Introduction 1
  • A 4
  • B 23
  • C 29
  • D 63
  • E 76
  • F 99
  • G 110
  • H 116
  • I 122
  • L 130
  • M 132
  • N 148
  • O 165
  • P 174
  • R 198
  • S 209
  • T 230
  • U 235
  • W 238
  • Bibliography 243
  • Name Index 265
  • Subject Index 270
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