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Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism$
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Onur Ulas Ince

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190637293

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190637293.001.0001

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Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism

Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism

Framing an Inquiry

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism
Source:
Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism
Author(s):

Onur Ulas Ince

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190637293.003.0002

This chapter constructs an analytic framework for reconstructing the relationship between liberalism and empire through the optic of political economy. Extant studies of liberalism and empire tend to restrict the analysis to the explication of liberal texts in imperial contexts without explicitly theorizing the imperial contexts in question. To address this lacuna, the chapter elaborates the notion of “colonial capitalism” as a contextual theory and a hermeneutic key for interpreting the works of John Locke, Edmund Burke, and Edward G. Wakefield. Drawing on critical political economy, imperial social and economic history, and postcolonial theory, “colonial capitalism” captures the heterogeneous and globally networked property structures, exchange systems, and labor regimes that constituted Britain’s imperial economy. Against this background, it highlights the “dilemmas of liberalism” that materialized in the efforts to reconcile the peaceful, commercial, British self-imaginations and the coercive economic practices the Britons undertook in their imperial possessions.

Keywords:   colonialism, capitalism, empire, liberalism, primitive accumulation, ideology, methodology, social theory, linguistic contextualism

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