(Re) interpreting intégration : a study of colonial reform during the Algerian War (1954-62)

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Blunt, Craig Simon
  • Subject: DT

This thesis examines the writing of individuals whose stance during the Algerian war\ud of 1954-62 might broadly be defined as favourable to a process of colonial reform.\ud Focusing above all on the integration programme championed by Jacques Soustelle,\ud the present study will seek to challenge colonial reformers for their over-generous\ud reading of France's colonial past; overturn their claim that they had the consent of the\ud Muslim population for their proposals; critique their reading of the European\ud population as willing to embrace change; criticise them for replicating many of the\ud Eurocentric notions of progress and development associated with the old colonial\ud policy of assimilation; and finally, show how in their search for explanations for the\ud failure of reform, they failed to appreciate that the dynamics of the colonial system\ud prevented its reform. Whilst the proposals of reformers were, for the most part, guided\ud by a genuine, if misguided, good will, the thesis will also identify certain areas where\ud the attitudes they displayed, and the measures they proposed, fell short of the liberal\ud principles which they claimed to uphold. In constructing a critique of the colonial\ud reformers' position, the study draws upon the work of anti-colonialists theorists\ud writing at the time of the conflict such as Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi and upon\ud the assessments of contemporary historians.\ud Whilst the territory over which this thesis ranges has been partially mapped, it has not\ud been comprehensively so. No previous study has fully analysed the integration\ud programme, particularly with the aim of establishing the ways in which it differed\ud from a policy of assimilation, or considered at length the ideas of its chief architect,\ud Jacques Soustelle.
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