Exclusion and Inlcusion: Gradations of Whiteness and Socio-Economic Engineering in German Southwest Africa 1884-1914

Aitken, RJM (2007) Exclusion and Inlcusion: Gradations of Whiteness and Socio-Economic Engineering in German Southwest Africa 1884-1914. Cultural Identity Studies . Peter Lang,Oxford, 265-. ISBN 978-3-03911-060-5

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In this dissertation the internal workings of a colonial settler society are examined· through employing elements of post-colonial theory and whiteness studies. Specifically, the dissertation focuses on the construction of a hierarchical social order in the German colony of German Southwest Africa during the period 1884-1914. It is argued that Gennan colonial rule was underpinned, and informed by a polarised Self and Other dichotomy which distinguished between the European colonisers and the colonised indigenous Africans. The employment of dichotomous categories of identification, based on notions of imagined racial and cultural difference, allowed for the mapping of colonial society and was central to political and discursive practices of social control. Furthermore, this dichotomy justified and informed relations not simply between the colonisers and the colonised, but also amongst the colonisers themselves. The presence of settlers whose cultural practices and behaviour did not match with the nonns attributed to the idealised settler undennined the demarcation of difference. As a consequence undesirable settlers were increasingly perceived by the colonial authorities and interest groups as posing a threat to social control and the future stability of the Southwest. In particular, the dissertation examines the resulting discursive and political strategies of social engineering and identification which sought to include or exclude settlers from settler society based upon an assessment of their economic capacity and cultural competency as measured against the existing categories of identification. What emerged was an increasingly exclusionary settler society. The dissertation is based on extensive archival material from the Bundesarchiv in Berlin as well as a wide range of printed Sources. It allows for an insight into strategies of social control, power and the establishment of social privilege in a settler society. It investigates a construction of a specifically Gennan version of whiteness in a colonial context which enables an insight into the ways in which sections ofthe middle class conceived of Germanness and whiteness. As the lines of cultural and racial difference became increasingly confused, the categories of Black and White were under constant negotiation and re-construction and whilst the category ofthe Black remained an absolute, the category of the White collapsed into a system of gradations of whiteness.

Item Type: Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: constructions of whiteness, german colonialism, race, namibia, hans grimm
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2023 10:19
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2023 11:19
DOI: 10.17638/03176027
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3176027