Martin Thomas
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Colonial planning and administrative practice
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This chapter revisits debates over 'associationism' and 'assimilationism' in French colonial administration. Theories of governance had a major impact on the direction of colonial policy after 1918. With the important exceptions of the anciennes colonies, the general resurgence of associationist ideas elsewhere in the 1920s empire stimulated fundamental changes in governmental practice and the development of indigenous civil society. Equipped with a seemingly infallible justification for colonial oligarchy, associationists dominated policy making in much of the French empire from the end of the First World War to the start of the Second. The Algiers government insisted none the less that the Jonnart Law formed part of a longer-term scheme of political education constructed on associationist principles. In the colonies of Algeria, black Africa and Madagascar, European settlers dominated the Consultative Assembly system. As in Algeria, so in Lyautey's Morocco, associationist administrators regarded tribal djemaas as the bedrock of rural authority.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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