Introduction: metropolis and India

John Marriott

in The Other Empire

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719060182
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700341 | DOI:
Introduction: metropolis and India

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After the decisive battle of Plassey, various forms of knowledge production grew exponentially. In 1784 the Asiatic Society of Bengal was formed. It was at this moment that equations of state were brought into a unitary epistemological field. This chapter argues that the eighteenth-century European state established its authority by codifying and controlling the representation of the relationship between the past and the present. The accumulation of vast amounts of information on finance, trade, health, crime and industry served this end. In Britain this cultural project was integral to the country's emergence as a colonial power, and since India was potentially the most important colony, the consolidation of the state brought the two countries into a relationship of mutual reciprocity. The projects of state building in both countries—documentation, classification and bounding, and the institutions therewith—often reflected theories, experiences and practices worked out originally in India and then applied to Great Britain as well as vice versa.

Keywords: battle of Plassey; Asiatic Society of Bengal; Bernard Cohn; epistemological field; eighteenth-century European state

Chapter.  3588 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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