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Money, Sex and Power Gendered power and the development of colonialism Week 8 2011-12.

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Presentation on theme: "Money, Sex and Power Gendered power and the development of colonialism Week 8 2011-12."— Presentation transcript:

1 Money, Sex and Power Gendered power and the development of colonialism Week

2 Lecture outline What is colonialism/imperialism and how does it relate to capitalism? What is colonialism/imperialism and how does it relate to capitalism? Different conceptualisations of colonialism and its relation to gendered power Different conceptualisations of colonialism and its relation to gendered power Brief look at post-colonialism and the place of gender in post-colonial theory Brief look at post-colonialism and the place of gender in post-colonial theory

3 What is colonialism/imperialism? Waylen distinguishes old and new forms of colonialism Waylen distinguishes old and new forms of colonialism Old colonialism – late 15 th and 16 th centuries Old colonialism – late 15 th and 16 th centuries New colonialism – 17 th and 18 th centuries New colonialism – 17 th and 18 th centuries Shift from indirect to direct political control by colonial state – 19 th century Shift from indirect to direct political control by colonial state – 19 th century

4 Political control Established as political strategy and for economic gain Established as political strategy and for economic gain Formalised rights of possession over colonies Formalised rights of possession over colonies Established rights to extract and use raw materials, natural resources from colonies Established rights to extract and use raw materials, natural resources from colonies Facilitated development of capitalist industry at home, created markets for manufactured good in colonies Facilitated development of capitalist industry at home, created markets for manufactured good in colonies

5 Changes Changes in land ownership Changes in land ownership Commercialised agriculture Commercialised agriculture Taxation system introduced – wage labour, migration Taxation system introduced – wage labour, migration Restricted form of capitalism Restricted form of capitalism Women lost control over land, capital, their own and others labour Women lost control over land, capital, their own and others labour

6 Effect on women 4 major perspectives on colonial history: Imperial history Imperial history Nationalist perspectives Nationalist perspectives Marxist and socialist perspectives Marxist and socialist perspectives Post-colonial studies Post-colonial studies

7 Themes of literature White western womens involvement in imperialism White western womens involvement in imperialism Effect of imperialism on women in Britain Effect of imperialism on women in Britain Experiences of colonised women Experiences of colonised women Men and colonial masculinities Men and colonial masculinities Colonialism and sexuality Colonialism and sexuality Gendered discourses of colonialism Gendered discourses of colonialism

8 Analytical questions How colonialism affected women and gender relations How colonialism affected women and gender relations The gendering of colonial processes The gendering of colonial processes How women both supported and resisted colonialism How women both supported and resisted colonialism Waylen argues that key concepts for analysis of imperialism besides class and gender are: race and ethnicity; slavery; migration; sexuality, reproduction and miscegenation; changes to family relations, work relations and relations of power Waylen argues that key concepts for analysis of imperialism besides class and gender are: race and ethnicity; slavery; migration; sexuality, reproduction and miscegenation; changes to family relations, work relations and relations of power

9 Gender and imperialism Imperial history – history of imperialism written from point of view of colonisers Imperial history – history of imperialism written from point of view of colonisers Excludes women and gender Excludes women and gender Taken up by feminists and others looking at womens position in the colonies Taken up by feminists and others looking at womens position in the colonies Can be part of discourse that represents women in colonies as backward in comparison with US and W.European women Can be part of discourse that represents women in colonies as backward in comparison with US and W.European women

10 Imperialism as progressive Driving force of historical progress Driving force of historical progress Societies freed from traditional backwardness, become dynamic, modern Societies freed from traditional backwardness, become dynamic, modern Modernisation theory Modernisation theory Oppression of women is part of traditional backwardness Oppression of women is part of traditional backwardness Modern capitalist liberal democracy will liberate women from feudal bonds Modern capitalist liberal democracy will liberate women from feudal bonds Colonised women have no agency Colonised women have no agency

11 Nationalist perspectives Experience of colonised people central Experience of colonised people central Imperial history racist and patronising, sees colonial power in positive light, devalues history and culture of colonised societies Imperial history racist and patronising, sees colonial power in positive light, devalues history and culture of colonised societies Pre-colonial societies not backward at all, dynamic and developing economically before European intervention Pre-colonial societies not backward at all, dynamic and developing economically before European intervention Colonised peoples active agents of change in modernising world Colonised peoples active agents of change in modernising world Women involved in independence movements Women involved in independence movements

12 Nationalist perspectives on women Womens position pre-colonialism no worse than under colonial rule Womens position pre-colonialism no worse than under colonial rule Colonial power destroyed bases of womens power Colonial power destroyed bases of womens power Colonial powers didnt liberate colonised women, inhibited indigenous processes of change Colonial powers didnt liberate colonised women, inhibited indigenous processes of change Women agents of social change Women agents of social change

13 Re-assessment In 1970s and 1980s re-assessment of nationalist period In 1970s and 1980s re-assessment of nationalist period UN conference on women, first one in 1975 UN conference on women, first one in 1975 Nationalist struggles improved womens situation Nationalist struggles improved womens situation Focus on economic and political rights Focus on economic and political rights Womens personal position within family not addressed Womens personal position within family not addressed

14 Marxist/socialist perspectives Different groups benefitted from capitalist imperialism Different groups benefitted from capitalist imperialism Upper and middle classes of indigenous population benefitted Upper and middle classes of indigenous population benefitted Alliance between colonisers and this section of population Alliance between colonisers and this section of population Subaltern status – lower class and other marginalised groups – resisted exploitation and oppression Subaltern status – lower class and other marginalised groups – resisted exploitation and oppression

15 Marxist analysis and women Colonialism erodes pre-capitalist sites of womens power Introduces new forms of patriarchal control Changes in sexuality, marriage, family Changes in sexuality, marriage, family Forms of work, employment and labour Forms of work, employment and labour Land use, property rights and inheritance Land use, property rights and inheritance British rulers in India, together with Brahmin elites in Kerala, destroyed matrilineal kinship system

16 Male alliances Women active resisting colonialism Women active resisting colonialism Hostility from male alliances of colonial authorities and indigenous elites Hostility from male alliances of colonial authorities and indigenous elites Waylen: new customary laws aimed at controlling women Waylen: new customary laws aimed at controlling women Collusion between 2 sources of male power Collusion between 2 sources of male power Construction of tradition, new forms of control over women Construction of tradition, new forms of control over women

17 Post-colonialism and gender Edward Said defined orientalism as a view which defined the oriental and the Orient as: A biological inferior that is culturally backward, peculiar, and unchanging – to be depicted in dominating and sexual terms A biological inferior that is culturally backward, peculiar, and unchanging – to be depicted in dominating and sexual terms The feminine and weak Orient awaits the dominance of the West; it is a defenceless and unintelligent whole that exists for, and in terms of, its Western counterpart The feminine and weak Orient awaits the dominance of the West; it is a defenceless and unintelligent whole that exists for, and in terms of, its Western counterpart He called into question the underlying assumptions that form the foundation of Orientalist thinking He called into question the underlying assumptions that form the foundation of Orientalist thinking

18 Gender and colonialist discourse Emerged from literary and cultural studies Emerged from literary and cultural studies Perspective of imperial history a form of colonial discourse, legitimates colonial rule Perspective of imperial history a form of colonial discourse, legitimates colonial rule Colonial rule legitimated with reference to gender relations Colonial rule legitimated with reference to gender relations Gender relations in colonies (and contemporary societies such as Afghanistan) used as signifier of backward society Gender relations in colonies (and contemporary societies such as Afghanistan) used as signifier of backward society

19 How useful is post-colonial approach? Waylen: legitimacy of colonialism problematic Waylen: legitimacy of colonialism problematic Legitimated through construction of knowledge about the colonised by the coloniser Legitimated through construction of knowledge about the colonised by the coloniser Power over had to be legitimised – minds of oppressed had to be colonised – persuasion important not only coercion Power over had to be legitimised – minds of oppressed had to be colonised – persuasion important not only coercion

20 Post-colonial approach criticised Midgley: must go beyond discourse analysis Midgley: must go beyond discourse analysis Economic, political, military, social and administrative structures important Economic, political, military, social and administrative structures important Need to avoid relativism and challenge imperial history perspective Need to avoid relativism and challenge imperial history perspective Need to analyse material basis of power as well as language and symbols which legitimate power Need to analyse material basis of power as well as language and symbols which legitimate power

21 Conclusions Colonialism was gendered, affected indigenous gendered power relations Colonialism was gendered, affected indigenous gendered power relations Backwardness of indigenous peoples symbolised in gendered terms Backwardness of indigenous peoples symbolised in gendered terms Capitalist imperialism worsened womens position Capitalist imperialism worsened womens position Post-colonialism gives voice to subaltern Post-colonialism gives voice to subaltern Gender important symbolically and materially Gender important symbolically and materially Women active agents in bringing about social change Women active agents in bringing about social change


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