Martin Thomas
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Colonial economic demands and urban development in North Africa
in The French empire between the wars
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A brief survey of the impact of inter-war economic change and urban planning in colonial territories must be selective. This chapter takes a 'top down' approach, drawing on the records of colonial government. The danger is that colonial subjects appear as mere economic instruments rather than actors in their own right. In an effort to overcome this, the chapter highlights three generic socio-economic issues that affected all strata of colonial society: taxation, labour supply, and urban development. The last subject is analysed in regard to French North Africa, the one colonial arena where Europeans in tens of thousands interacted directly with colonial populations. The development of colonial urbanism and official and public responses to colonial immigration indicate that the colonial state constructed relations between urban communities, and between metropolitan and immigrant populations, in racial terms that privileged white dominance.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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