Universiteit Leiden

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The Development of Security: Colonial Geneaologies

  • Miguel Jerónimo Bandeira
Friday 2 February 2018
Pieterskerkhof 6
2311 SR Leiden

The nexus between security and development, so central to debates about global governance and aid policies today, at national and international fora, has a colonial genealogy. The politics and policies of late European colonialism, in Africa and elsewhere, were marked by various modalities of repressive developmentalism, of historical manifestations of developmentalisation of idioms and repertoires of security and securitization of languages and programmes of development. Social and economic reasoning, namely the desired promotion of economic productivism, became crucial to securitarian ponderations arising in contexts marked by more or less violent trajectories of imperial and colonial disengagement; social engineering and developmental drives became shaped by coercive purposes and repertoires. As a consequence, the rationales and techniques of development and welfare, on one hand, and of social control and repression, on the other, merged frequently, influencing the ways in which the late colonial states coped with the mounting challenges to their longstanding rule. This cross-fertilization was significant at many levels, entailing diverse "epistemic communities" and institutions, imperial, interimperial, and international. Knowledge, including of a disciplinary nature, was produced and transferred, within and between colonial empires; doctrines, models and policies – of welfare, of development, of settlement and resettlement, of social change and control – circulated globally, and were also nationalized. Particular projects experimented, and aimed to perfect, specific combinations of repressive developmentalism, with the aim to secure development, enhance security and strengthen political legitimacies, at home and abroad, in the context of a global decolonization momentum. Using a comparative framework, which focuses on a number of instances of development of security in late colonialism in Angola, Kenya, the Belgian Congo and Algeria, this lecture aims to demonstrate the need for an entangled history of development (including welfare) and security, not only to understand the transformative dynamics of late colonialism and decolonization.

Miguel Bandeira Jerónimo (PhD King’s College London, History, 2008) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Studies-University of Coimbra, Portugal. His research interests focus on the comparative, international and connected histories of imperialism and colonialism (XIX-XX centuries). Recently, he has been working on themes such as the politics of difference in European colonial empires, namely the ideological and institutional instruments of engineering and legitimizing the political and socioeconomic differentiation within colonial empires; the historical intersections between internationalism(s) and imperialism, namely in the interwar period, focusing on the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization and on the role played by internationalist and imperialist epistemic communities and pressure groups, and their interaction; and the entanglements of idioms, programs and repertoires of development and modernization and of societal control and coercion at late European colonial empires, exploring the connected trajectories of late colonial repressive developmentalism. He is the author of The "Civilizing Mission" of Portuguese Colonialism (c.1870-1930) (2015), and the co-editor of The ends of European colonial empires (2015). In 2017, he co-edited Internationalism, imperialism and the formation of the contemporary world. He is presently writing An International history of modern colonial labour (under contract), but also to appreciate how they still reverberate today.


Research Fellow, Centre for Social Studies (University of Coimbra)

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