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The Other EmpireMetropolis, India and Progress in the Colonial Imagination$
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John Marriott

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780719060182

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719060182.001.0001

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So immense an empire

So immense an empire

(p.130) Chapter Five So immense an empire
The Other Empire

John Marriott

Manchester University Press

The accumulation of empirical material illustrates a determined attempt to know the Indian landscape and village life in order better to exercise economic and political authority. This chapter highlights the more systematic, centralized, totalizing and abstract bodies of knowledge based on fundamental discourses of race, caste and criminality. Until the late eighteenth century orientalist interests in ancient language and culture had prevailed. With the expansion of British control and the attendant demands for an efficient and informed administrative system, however, new types of knowledge were necessary. Equally, and to an extent autonomously of imperial exigencies, the survey represented a new mode of observation akin to that taking place in the metropolitan context. There were continuities with previous knowledge producing processes, but in surveys the accumulation and commodification of observable materials as a scientific enterprise to know India was quite novel.

Keywords:   political authority, discourses of race, caste, criminality, eighteenth century, commodification, economic authority, imperial exigencies

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