Adam Sitze

The Imperial Critique of Imperial War

  • Abstract

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Keywords: imperial war, Arendt, colonial bureaucracy, race.

The essay provides a reading of Hannah Arendt's view of imperialism moving from her 1946 article Imperialism: Road to Suicide. Here Arendt argued that Imperialism had changed the very meaning of politics by turning it into «thanatopolitics». In Origins of Totalitarianism, however, this claims about the suicidal ethos of imperialism disappeared. The Author suggests that this self-destructive drive still remains in the chapter on Race and Bureaucracy, where Arendt makes the claim to have found a «philosophy of the bureaucrat» in an obscure 1908 essay called Government of the Subject Races penned by the imperial administrator named Lord Evelyn Baring Cromer. The essay points out that the «philosophy of the bureaucrat» entails a criticism of imperial war, but the aim of this criticism is not at all to dissolve empire, but to prevent empire from dissolving itself.

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