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Perspectives on colonialism and postcolonialism in sub-Saharan Africa

Vol. 3, No. 2, December 2007
Deutsch | français

Mathieu Petithomme (Institut Universitaire Européen de Florence)

This article highlights the consequences of colonialism for postcolonial politics and culture. First it underlines the rupture caused by the introduction of the colonialist political economy. Second it retraces the way in which progressively between 16th and 20th century the French Empire and French Colonial Republic have been established in Africa. Symbol of the triumph of republican rights, France adopted a juridical and moral dualism that resulted in a state of unlawfulness and permanent exception. Reference to its “civilizing” role as herald of human rights served as justification for the systematic use of violence and coercion. In a final section the article shows the impact of colonization on postcolonial developments: far from turning away from a traumatic past, many politicians in postcolonial times rather take colonial domination as a blueprint for their own political agenda.