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Open Access Ambivalence and Phantasm in the Portuguese Colonial Discursive Production on Indians (Mozambique)

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Ambivalence and Phantasm in the Portuguese Colonial Discursive Production on Indians (Mozambique)

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Based on a number of Portuguese colonial discourses on the subject of Indian residents of Mozambique and a collection of discourses produced by the leaders of Indian communities upon their colonial “hosts”, we will attempt to show how the absence of a joint encompassing representation of colonial society on the part of many Portuguese whites made the basis of their power seem uncertain and vulnerable. This uncertainty – worsened by a structural doubt regarding the value of the Indian way of thinking and acting – stimulated a process of paranoidization. Especially in the final years of Salazar's regime, this discursive denial of reciprocity competed with an alternative model of representation of colonial society, characterised by a repetitive use of micro-familial positions in the conceptualization of Imperial encounters. However, this model cannot be discounted as an autistic production of colonial power, mirrored by certain social groups, namely, the leaders of the main Indian communities. We will accordingly explore the hypothesis of a co-authorship, both in the gradual recognition of mutual relations between the Portuguese and Indians, and in the emergence of the family-based model of colonial relations itself. À partir d'un certain nombre de discours coloniaux portugais relatifs aux Indiens habitant au Mozambique, et d'un recueil de discours par les chefs des communautés indiennes et concernant leurs « hôtes » coloniaux, l'article s'efforce de montrer comment l'absence d'une représentation globale commune de la société coloniale parmi de nombreux Portugais blancs a fait paraître incertaine et vulnérable la base de leur pouvoir. Cette incertitude – aggravée par un doute structurel concernant la valeur du mode indien de pensée et d'action – a favorisé un processus de paranoïa. En particulier au cours des dernières années du régime de Salazar, cette négation discursive de la réciprocité s'est trouvée en concurrence avec un autre modèle de représentation de la société coloniale, caractérisé par une utilisation répétée des positions microfamiliales dans la conceptualisation des rencontres impériales. Toutefois, ce modèle ne peut pas être rejeté comme une production autiste du pouvoir colonial, reflétée par certains groupes sociaux, spécifiquement les chefs des principales communautés indiennes. L'article explore donc l'hypothèse d'une origine commune, à la fois dans la reconnaissance progressive des relations réciproques entre Portugais et Indiens et dans l'émergence du modèle même des relations coloniales fondé sur la famille. Tendo por base um certo número de discursos coloniais portugueses sobre o tema dos habitantes indianos de Moçambique e uma colectânea de discursos apresentados pelos líderes das comunidades indianas relativamente aos seus « anfitriões » coloniais, o artigo tenta mostrar como a ausência de uma representação global comum da sociedade colonial entre muitos portugueses brancos fez com que a base do seu poder parecesse incerta e vulnerável. Esta incerteza – agravada por uma dúvida estrutural relativa ao valor da maneira indiana de pensar e de agir – estimulou um processo de paranóia. Especialmente no final do regime salazarista, esta negação discursiva da reciprocidade esteve em concorrência com um modelo alternativo de representação da sociedade colonial, caracterizada pela utilização repetitiva de posições micro-familiares na conceptualização dos encontros imperiais. No entanto, este modelo não pode ser rejeitado como uma produção autista do poder colonial, reflectido por certos grupos sociais, nomeadamente os líderes das principais comunidades indianas. O artigo, por conseguinte, explora a hipótese de uma origem comum, ao mesmo tempo no reconhecimento gradual das relações mútuas entre os portugueses e os indianos, e na emergência de um modelo de relações coloniais ele próprio baseado na família.

Affiliations: 1: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Centro de Estudos de Migrações e Minorias Étnicas

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/content/journals/10.1163/176830808785327287
2008-08-01
2016-12-07

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