By Karuna Mantena
Alibis of Empire offers a unique account of the origins, substance, and afterlife of overdue imperial ideology. Karuna Mantena demanding situations the concept Victorian empire was once basically legitimated by means of liberal notions of development and civilization. in reality, because the British Empire won its farthest succeed in, its ideology was once being dramatically reworked via a self-conscious rejection of the liberal version. The cave in of liberal imperialism enabled a brand new culturalism that under pressure the hazards and problems of attempting to "civilize" local peoples. And, hand in hand with this shift in pondering was once a shift in perform towards types of oblique rule. As Mantena indicates, the paintings of Victorian felony pupil Henry Maine used to be on the middle of those momentous alterations. Alibis of Empire examines how Maine's sociotheoretic version of "traditional" society laid the foundation for the culturalist good judgment of past due empire. In charting the stream from liberal idealism, via culturalist rationalization, to retroactive alibi inside of nineteenth-century British imperial ideology, Alibis of Empire reveals a awesome and pervasive dynamic of contemporary empire.
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Extra resources for Alibis of Empire: Henry Maine and the Ends of Liberal Imperialism
The Morant Bay Rebellion, coming on the heels of the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion of 1857, signaled for many an ingratitude on the part of Jamaicans and Indians for the civilizing character of imperial rule. The fact of rebellion provoked a sense of disillusionment in the progressive ideals of abolition, and the burden of responsibility was placed squarely on the shoulders of freed Jamaican slaves who seemingly failed to take advantage of the beneﬁts of emancipation. 80 The reform and improvement of native customs and morals seemed not only be limited in effect but also potentially dangerous to the stability of CRISIS OF LIBERAL IMPERIALISM 39 empire.
51 The central error of Bentham’s theory of government was thus its austere universalism, its tendency to assume “that mankind are alike in all times and all places,”52 an error that Mill thought was common to the political theories “of the last age . . ”53 This insistence that governing practices and institutions demanded profound alterations depending on the virtues and intelligence of a people, or in his terms the “state of society” or “stage of civilization,” was of paramount importance to his defense of imperial despotism.
68 Mill projects the paradox of the child onto a scale of civilization and in so doing expands and heightens, in cultural and historical terms, the requirements for political inclusion. In moving away from Bentham’s strict universalism, Mill had already committed himself to a more diversiﬁed account of character, one more thoroughly conditioned by custom and society. By tightly binding the beneﬁts of liberty and representative government to civilizational development, Mill further circumscribes the possibility of political liberty with the imperatives of culture and history.