Crime, liberalism and empire: Governing the Mina tribe of northern India
Source TitleSocial and Legal Studies: an international journal
PublisherSAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD
University of Melbourne Author/sBrown, Mark
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBrown, M. (2004). Crime, liberalism and empire: Governing the Mina tribe of northern India. SOCIAL & LEGAL STUDIES, 13 (2), pp.191-218. https://doi.org/10.1177/0964663904042551.
Access StatusThis item is currently not available from this repository
C1 - Refereed Journal Article
Cultural analyses of empire inspired by Edward Said’s Orientalism (1978) have focused on certain artefacts of imperial thought, representing them as emblematic of a totalizing Orientalist discourse. This article examines one such case in nineteenthcentury India: the identification and legal notification of communities as Criminal Tribes. Taking the case of the Mina tribe of northern India, an attempt is made to illustrate how strategies like the criminal tribes policy fall far short of reflecting some broad and monolithic approach to governance. By examining the divergent views of orthodox and authoritarian strains within British liberalism, and showing how they were directly reflected in quite different approaches to governing the Minas, the article reveals the criminal tribesman as less an archetype of British crime control strategy than the product of a limited and partial examination of the colonial archive. It is hoped that the present investigation of the case of the Mina tribe will provide a more complex and sophisticated understanding of the doctrines and strategies under which Britain governed its empire.
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