Building: BL07 P.A. Munchs hus Floor: 1 Room: PAM SEM10
Empirical progress in political anthropology has resulted in more refined conceptual tools, which can shed new light on the histories of “external” colonialism between countries, as well as “internal” colonialism within states.
Many national liberation movements find it useful to frame their case in terms of strategic essentialism, in particular in order to adapt to international law. That is an understandable reaction when old colonial ideology still circulates, as in the “Clash of Civilizations” hypothesis.
Political anthropology, however, offers another remedy: an empirical sensitivity to the plural and often paradoxical concrete practices that make and maintain the State, as well as cultural complexity and exchange beyond the imagined community of the Nation.
For example, in a study of “The Internet in the Moroccan Public Sphere, the anthropologist Brigt Hope observed entrepreneurs embedded in French and Arab media economy, trying to develop a media sector still hampered after Arab and French colonisation.
Recent political anthropology has unsettled the assumed dichotomy between “traditional” and “modern” political systems. They unpack how “state structures are viewed from the inside, by official state bodies, composed of bureaucrats and politicians; and how these state manifestations are supported, reproduced or transformed at a local level." (Knut Nustad and Christian Krohn-Hansen 2006: State Formation. Anthropological Perspectives. Pluto Press.) By objectifying the modern institutions, anthropology unsettles its earlier subject position. In a parallel move, the sociology of development has identified hybrid or multiple modernities, whereas the political science of religion has left the dogmatic belief that modernisation would equal secularisation.
Such developments invites to further investigate the complexities of centres and peripheries. From the European perspective, this would imply further inquiry into “internal” colonialism in local provinces, such as Brittany, as well as “external” colonialism in overseas areas, such as Maghreb.