The political organisation of the British in their Empire, 1875–1939
Transforming indirect rule
in Governing natives
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This chapter traces a textual genealogy of indirect rule as an art of government, beginning in the mid-nineteenth-century moment of imperial crisis and tracing its development through the work and writing of Arthur Gordon in Fiji and Frederick Lugard in Nigeria. It describes indirect rule as emerging from a conception of ‘native society’ that characterised a specific political rationality, working to articulate those landholding ‘native societies’ with either settler-owned plantations or British mercantile capital. The chapter emphasises the role of administrators’ writing, particularly that of Lugard, in popularising indirect rule as a mobile art of government which could be abstracted from the specificities of the colonial formation and deemed applicable as a functional and benevolent approach to distinct articulations.

Governing natives

Indirect rule and settler colonialism in Australia’s north

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