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‘The Swiss of All People!’ Politics of Embarrassment and Dutch Imperialism around 1900

  • Bernhard C. SchärEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Abstract

This case study of Swiss scientists in the Dutch East Indies offers a new approach to Dutch imperialism in Southeast Asia around 1900. It argues that one of the reasons for the Dutch to ‘round off’ their Empire was a fear of embarrassment in front of ‘foreign’ European countries. Adopting a Bourdieuean view on the role of emotions for collective action, I argue that fear of embarrassment was part of the Dutch imperial habitus, given the rather weak position of this relatively small country in the ‘imperial game’. On the level of concrete historical actors, fear of embarrassment is simultaneously seen as a resource that journalists, scientists, missionaries, colonial officers and local rulers could exploit in the pursuit of competing agendas within the Dutch Empire.

Keywords

Local Ruler Colonial Government Ethical Policy Outer Island Colonial Authority 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of HistoryETH ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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