Gurminder Bhambra's annual lecture in British Journal of Sociology ends with a call for a "better social science" that science "find broader and more generous solutions to problems we face, based on a more complete understanding of common history that makes up our present."
Bambra does what it preaches and her presentation is so clear that she offers both compelling theoretical claims and plenty of compelling empirical evidence, so this lecture is very original and certainly testifies to great a lot of work and careful historical research.
But Bambura's intervention goes far beyond her call for better social sciences, and on closer reading implications of her argument should be seen as a call for a paradigm shift in how social sciences relate to nation-states, whether in history is still in our time.
However, viewing Britain as a historical nation-state or empire-state would have serious implications, and as Bambura argues, it is failure to understand empire that prevents us from understanding "shaping our common history now".
In Bambura's key imperial facts, apply their radical implications to our relationship to wider Western European scene and world at large in post-war period.
If Great Britain is not a nation-state, then most of countries of Western Europe, Belgium, Denmark, France, Holland, Portugal and Spain did not have colonies in post-war period.
Therefore, there was no universal system of nation-states at that time, and the creation of United Nations in 1945 was not intended to change that fact, as Mazower shows: fact that, like League of Nations, it was a product of empire, and fact that, at least at first, those who owned colonies considered it a more than adequate defense mechanism. .
The author argues that our modern nation-state system is not an invention of Westphalian and European goals, but a product of decolonization and thus a reaction to Europe's reaction to modern world order, especially post-war one. order design answers and alternatives.
Because Europeans opposed this system, its implementation was often a very bloody affair, as evidenced by many wars and crimes against humanity waged by colonial powers after war, all to prevent national emergence of state systems and maintain colonial systems.
Bambula's work helps create a historical critique of methodological nationalism, rather than many misunderstandings perpetuated by our current theoretical consensus about what "methodological nationalism" means.
Bambra began her speech with following statement:
The consolidation of British welfare state in mid-twentieth century not only coincided with systemic collapse of British Empire, but was strongly influenced by it. engaged in scientific research, as well as popular representatives. For example, it suffices to recall "Spirit No. 45" by Ken Loach.
Ken Loach's famous documentary on radical social reforms launched by Labor government in 1945 is indeed a good example.
The spirit and vision of 1945 was imperial and, as Bambura shows, building of a post-war welfare state in British Isles was based in part on continuation of colonial exploitation around world. Yes, and story of national and public spirit implies a separation from imperial spirit.
But while Robert Schuman called for "world peace", Schuman was also busy overseeing brutal colonial war in Indochina that killed up to half a million Vietnamese, that's what The EU must do. erase to glorify spirit of Schuman Declaration as a call for "world peace".
In their opinion, France could use Africa as a "dowry to Europe" and a way to "seduce Germans."
In 1950 it was still natural for European politicians to deny existence of any political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, and it was not up to Africans to decide whether "Africa" was an integral part of European project.
The same approach applies to countries that have colonized Africa. African independence is not on agenda. From British point of view, Africa is a place where "Great Britain can and must decisively draw a permanent line of defense", a place where "the British Empire can exist indefinitely".
This contrasts sharply with Western European notions of empires in Asia, Middle East, and to some extent North Africa, where high tensions were brewing long before end of war, before Japan's surrender in August 1945. Anti-colonial sentiments and movements for independence.
Following First World War and its "Wilsonian moment" many such movements formed which at first seemed to elevate national self-determination into a general principle, thus giving rise to "A window of opportunity has opened and highlights problem colonial liberation.
While this impression proved misleading, it helped to inspire and radicalize anti-colonial movement, promising not to miss moment a second time after windows reopened in 1945.
However, colonial powers were well aware of what was coming, and they were not ready to capitulate, but similarly prepared to stop wave of independence movements in Asia and Middle East, as well as North Africa, as well as Algeria from V.E., as evidenced by massacres that began
The initial British imperialist actions in 1945 and 1946 actually led to a significant expansion of European imperialism in Asia. The military intervention in India (Indonesia) paved way for Britain to help France and Netherlands regain colonial control that had been lost during war.
The British decision was based on firm belief that restoration of French and Dutch empires in Asia was essential to Britain's ability to maintain her Asian possessions.
As Bambura pointed out in her speech, at this critical juncture, it is impossible to lose dollar revenues from rubber and tin production in Malaysia. The British Ambassador to Thailand said: on Mekong River.
But in 1950s, European powers quickly lost most of their colonial holdings in Asia and Middle East, and decline of European influence went hand in hand with Asia's rapid rise to become a major theater of operations at start of Cold War.
At same time, events in Middle East and Iran were moving in same direction, where colonial struggles and Cold War struggles were often inextricably intertwined, and given Africa's relative isolation from that Cold War and anti-colonial struggles, many Europeans, thus, he believed that strengthening of European possessions in Africa would help prevent attempts to decolonize Asia to gain a foothold on continent.
Both Britain and France favored this development, with Britain's firm commitment to re-colonialism in Africa largely due to a belief in continent's vast economic potential.
So, as Bambura points out, this gives UK an invaluable opportunity to fix its dire financial situation, recession in general, and its embarrassing dependence on US in particular.
This was reflected in unprecedented British investment in its African colonies in early post-war period, as British economic situation after 1947 showed further signs of structural weakness, leading, as Butler put it, to "a brief but unprecedented obsession with exploitation of colonial resources".
As Chancellor of Exchequer Stafford Cripps stated at a meeting of African Governors-General in November 1947:
The economies of Western Europe and Sub-Africa were so closely linked in terms of mutual trade, capital supply and monetary systems that question of their external balance was essentially a problem.
Tropical Africa is already a major contributor in terms of physical supplies of food and raw materials and significant net dollar income to pound sterling fund, further development of African resources is just as important for recovery and strengthening of Western Europe, just as recovery of productivity in Europe just as important for Africa's future progress and prosperity.
In Africa, we really see a huge potential for new strength and viability of Western European economy. The stronger economy, better Africa will be.
Under headline "Cripps Says Colonies Are Key to Survival," The New York Times highlighted that Cripps' argument "has broad support among America's leading economists and businessmen."
In October 1947, The New York Times wrote that "despite her changing status abroad", "Great Britain remained a powerful imperial state."
Of course, report continues, India is lost and Palestine is on its way, and while its relations with Middle East and Far East are still strong, there are definitely signs of tension.
However, unlike this event, The New York Times can also confirm that "British interests in Africa - from Kenya, Sudan and Nigeria to Cape Town - are expanding." strong >
In fact, in 1947, Africa was driving out India, which, in Louis's words, was "one of last reasons to become British Empire," much in keeping with spirit of struggle for Africa at end of nineteenth century. : "From Mombasa to Lagos, maps of tropical Africa will be in new British red color with important centers in Sudan.
Despite Africa's bleak economic outlook, Britain's initial enthusiasm cannot stop there.
The projected viability of venture is also closely related to an equally assumed time buffer, as previously stated, Britain thought it could work, assuming its African plans had time due to nationalism and communism achieved elsewhere in empire. still found at a safe distance from tropical Africa.
International Affairs magazine in 1948 stated: "Regarding Africans and their aspirations" that "rapid political evolution is not important to him and is not his main need."
On contrary, it is said that what African seeks and what Britain must provide is "the nourishment of his body and mind." "Africa", as Gallagher described it, would be an alternative to India, more tamed, more pliant, more pious.
This is very important,because France and many of those who advocated European integration in 1940s and 50s shared same timing.
As 1950s wore on, British African business slowed down, while France and later EEC continued to advance plans to link African colonies more closely with European business.
The program developed under name Euro-African and successfully ended with Treaty of Rome 1957 when European Economic Community decided to absorb or unite African colonies of France and Belgium.
In fact, African colonies and their vast natural resources were high on agenda of almost all post-war organizations and institutions of European integration.
For example, at European Congress of European Movement in The Hague in May 1948, it was decided that “The European Union must, of course, bring into its orbit expansions, dependencies and associated territories of European powers. in Africa and elsewhere, and existing constitutional bonds that hold them together must be preserved.
One of main participants in Congress, Union of European Federalists (EUF), insisted that "Europe as a whole is viable only if it takes into account ties that bind it together with countries and dependent territories scattered all over globe.
The European Union Foundation also insists that Council of Europe, created in 1949, play a leading role in development of colonial Africa, arguing that “the era of colonial state ownership is over and that henceforth for benefit of all interested peoples. For some parts of Africa, a common European development policy should be adopted.
Historical Archives of European Union
Aron "France is unshakable, changing: republics from fourth to fifth"
Bailey K. and Harper T. The Forgotten War: The End of British Empire in Asia
Benoit, E. Europe at Six or Seven: The Common Market, Free Trade Associations, and United States
Brady "Eisenhower and Adenauer: keeping alliance under pressure"
Brown, W. The Walled State, The Decline of Sovereignty