Control & Crisis in Colonial Kenya: The Dialectic of Domination

By Bruce Berman | Go to book overview

process of linkage is understood here through a particular construction of the concept of 'articulation'. It is this process that determined the patterns of class formation and class struggle, and the recurrent crises of accumulation and legitimation which occurred in a colony.

Second, colonial 'domination' is a much more complex and fragile relationship than is commonly recognized, resting as much on a material foundation of accumulation and class collaboration as the imposition of superior coercive force. The relationship of domination was essential for the process of articulation, yet was repeatedly undermined by the latter's contradictions and crises. From this perspective we can more clearly analyse the pivotal importance, often noted but seldom fully understood, of the colonial prefect or field administrator as the primary agent of the construction and maintenance of the relations of domination.

Third, and more broadly, the colonial state was a set of institutions and practices that both reflected and shaped the contradictions and crises of the political economy in which it was set. Having taken account of this, we can then more clearly understand the colonial state's essentially contradictory roles in the processes of accumulation and legitimation.


Notes
1.
See, for example, from a large and useful, if narrowly conceived and often self- consciously empiricist and 'atheoretical' literature, the studies by Robert Heussler, Yesterday's Rulers:The British Colonial Service, Syracuse, NY; Syracuse University Press, 1963; The British in Northern Nigeria, London: Oxford University Press, 1968; British Tanganyika, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1971; and by Lewis Gann & Peter Duignan , The Rulers of British Africa, 1870-1914, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1978; The Rulers of German Africa, 1884-1914, Stanford University Press, 1977; The Rulers of Belgian Africa, 1884-1914, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979; and the collection edited by them, African Proconsuls:European Governors in Africa, New York: Free Press, 1978. See also G. H. Mungeam, British Rule in Kenya, 1895-1912, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1966; I. F. Nicholson, The Administration of Nigeria, 1900-1960: Men, Methods and Myths, Clarendon Press, 1969; William B. Cohen, Rulers of Empire: the French Colonial Service in Africa, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1971; Henrika Kuklick , The Imperial Bureaucrat: The Colonial Administrative Service in the Gold Coast, 1920-1939, Hoover Institution Press, 1979; and A. H. M. Kirk-Greene, A Biographical Dictionary of the British Colonial Governor, Volume 1: Africa, Hoover Institution Press 1980.
2.
Robert Tignor, The Colonial Transformation of Kenya, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976; A. G. Hopkins, An Economic History of West Africa, London: Longman, 1973; John Iliffe, The Emergence of African Capitalism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983.
3.
A relevant example of this type of analysis is S. & D. Aaronovitch, Crisis in Kenya, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1947.
4.
Richard Wolff, The Economics of Colonialism: Britain and Kenya, 1870-1930, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1974; Mahmoud Mamdani, Politics and Class Formationin Uganda

-9-

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