Introduction

Mimetic Governmentality, Colonialism, and the State

in Social Analysis
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Abstract

Engaging critically with literature on mimesis, colonialism, and the state in anthropology and history, this introduction argues for an approach to mimesis and imitation as constitutive of the state and its forms of rule and governmentality in the context of late European colonialism. It explores how the colonial state attempted to administer, control, and integrate its indigenous subjects through mimetic policies of governance, while examining how indigenous polities adopted imitative practices in order to establish reciprocal ties with, or to resist the presence of, the colonial state. In introducing this special issue, three main themes will be addressed: mimesis as a strategic policy of colonial government, as an object of colonial regulation, and, finally, as a creative indigenous appropriation of external forms of state power.

Contributor Notes

Patrice Ladwig studied social anthropology and sociology and obtained his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He has worked at the University of Bristol, the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and the University of Zurich. His work focuses on the anthropology of Buddhism (Laos and Thailand), death and funeral cultures, colonialism, the link of religion to communist movements, and general social theory. He currently works at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and carries out research on economic modernization, religion, and ethics in the context of the Max Planck Cambridge Centre for the Study of Ethics, Human Economy and Social Change. E-mail: ladwig@mmg.mpg.de

Ricardo Roque is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lisbon. He is also an Honorary Associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney. He works on the history and anthropology of colonialism, human sciences, and cross-cultural contact in the Portuguese-speaking world from 1800 to the twentieth century. He has published widely in Portuguese and English on the history of physical anthropology and colonial encounters in East Timor, Goa (India), and Angola. He has also published on the theory and ethnography of colonial archives. He is the author of Head-hunting and Colonialism (2010) and co-editor of Engaging Colonial Knowledge (2012). E-mail: ricardo.roque@ics.ulisboa.pt

Social Analysis

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