Chapter 1 defines the volume’s key terms: domestic colonization as the process of segregating idle, irrational, and/or custom-bound groups of citizens by states and civil society organizations into strictly bounded parcels of ‘empty’ rural land within their own nation state in order to engage them in agrarian labour and ‘improve’ both the land and themselves and domestic colonialism as the ideology that justifies this process, based on its economic (offsets costs) and ethical (improves people) benefits. The author examines and differentiates her own research from previous literatures on ‘internal colonialism’ and argues that her analysis challenges postcolonial scholarship in four important ways: colonization needs to be understood as a domestic as well as foreign policy; people were colonized based on class, disability, and religious belief as well as race; domestic colonialism was defended by socialists and anarchists as well as liberal thinkers; and colonialism and imperialism were quite distinct ideologies historically even if they are often difficult to distinguish in contemporary postcolonial scholarship—put simply—the former was rooted in agrarian labour and the latter in domination. This chapter concludes with a summary of the remaining chapters.
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