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Mimesis and Assemblage : The Imperial Durbars at Delhi

Svensson, Ted LU (2017) In STANCE Working Papers Series 2017(4). p.5-25
Abstract
With a specific emphasis on the imperial durbar as symbolic form and ritual content, the paper explores how the British, until 1857 in the guise of the East India Company, drew on and gradually adjusted local customs and notions of rightful authority as part of their annexation and subjection of South Asian polities. The paper suggests that the the imperial durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, as well as the 'non-durbar' of 1936-38, make manifest how the projection and assertion of imperial paramountcy was bound up with efforts to anchor it in symbols and rituals associated with the sovereign expressions of 'native rulers' in particular, and in 'tradition' and the 'traditional' more generally. At the heart of the paper is, hence, not solely the... (More)
With a specific emphasis on the imperial durbar as symbolic form and ritual content, the paper explores how the British, until 1857 in the guise of the East India Company, drew on and gradually adjusted local customs and notions of rightful authority as part of their annexation and subjection of South Asian polities. The paper suggests that the the imperial durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, as well as the 'non-durbar' of 1936-38, make manifest how the projection and assertion of imperial paramountcy was bound up with efforts to anchor it in symbols and rituals associated with the sovereign expressions of 'native rulers' in particular, and in 'tradition' and the 'traditional' more generally. At the heart of the paper is, hence, not solely the ritualisation that the imperial durbars signified, enacted and made possible. It, in addition, attends to what Douglas E. Haynes has referred to as the co-constitution of 'ritual order' and 'political order' in a South Asian context and its impact on British attempts to concurrently preserve existing hierarchies and to, in vain, present themselves as distant and objective civil servants. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Working Paper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
British Empire, state making, ritual, durbar, India, symbolic form, imperialism, paramountcy
in
STANCE Working Papers Series
volume
2017
issue
4
pages
25 pages
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5330aea7-a4f2-4edc-9a4e-3378572d1432
date added to LUP
2017-10-18 14:59:31
date last changed
2017-10-19 10:01:16
@misc{5330aea7-a4f2-4edc-9a4e-3378572d1432,
  abstract     = {With a specific emphasis on the imperial durbar as symbolic form and ritual content, the paper explores how the British, until 1857 in the guise of the East India Company, drew on and gradually adjusted local customs and notions of rightful authority as part of their annexation and subjection of South Asian polities. The paper suggests that the the imperial durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, as well as the 'non-durbar' of 1936-38, make manifest how the projection and assertion of imperial paramountcy was bound up with efforts to anchor it in symbols and rituals associated with the sovereign expressions of 'native rulers' in particular, and in 'tradition' and the 'traditional' more generally. At the heart of the paper is, hence, not solely the ritualisation that the imperial durbars signified, enacted and made possible. It, in addition, attends to what Douglas E. Haynes has referred to as the co-constitution of 'ritual order' and 'political order' in a South Asian context and its impact on British attempts to concurrently preserve existing hierarchies and to, in vain, present themselves as distant and objective civil servants.},
  author       = {Svensson, Ted},
  keyword      = {British Empire,state making,ritual,durbar,India,symbolic form,imperialism,paramountcy},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Working Paper},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {5--25},
  series       = {STANCE Working Papers Series},
  title        = {Mimesis and Assemblage : The Imperial Durbars at Delhi},
  volume       = {2017},
  year         = {2017},
}