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Confronting modernity: 'Techno-politics' and the limits of new world empire.

Fitzpatrick, Kathlean C (2007) Confronting modernity: 'Techno-politics' and the limits of new world empire. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores the relationship between modernity and the expansion of Anglo-American empire in North America in order to provide a theoretical basis for understanding the modern treaty negotiations currently underway in the Province of British Columbia, Canada. Canada, largely because it is a successor state of empire, has been unable to free itself from colonial attitudes and assumptions which continue to inform its negotiating position. In particular, the issue of sovereignty is denied, which frustrates any attempt to build a lasting and positive peace in the international relations of post-colonial British Columbia. In order to understand and overcome this collective failure of the political imagination I have undertaken a theoretical and historical analysis of modern sovereignty and the unlimited expansion of technological civilisation under the protection of the state, which I refer to as "New World Empire. Modern sovereignty and the techno-politics it engenders is the product of the scientific revolution and the "culture of improvement" inaugurated by Francis Bacon in reformation England. Bacon creatively invented the experimental method and its technological applications from his own imaginative reading of the "Christian" tradition and in so doing provided the natural philosophy necessary for Hobbes' construction of modern sovereignty. Understanding the state as an instrument of power rather than a product of nature inextricably links sovereignty to empire as power accumulation and projection are necessarily interdependent Drawing on the work of Leo Strauss I have identified three strategies of colonialism which are manifested in the combined practices of liberal assimilation, historicist development and nihilist segregation. Modern empire simply "asserts" sovereignty over territory and unilaterally constructs colonial subjects as allies, wards and captives, as passive objects of administration and control, rather than active subjects in their own right. These colonial prejudices must be deconstructed and rejected in order that the historical institution of treaty, rather than sovereignty, forms the basis for ongoing power sharing arrangement which recognizes "Indians" as equal partners within the larger context of Canadian confederation and international law.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations, Canadian Studies
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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