Ambivalence and phantasm in the Portuguese colonial discursive production on Indians (Mozambique)

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Based on a number of Portuguese colonial discourses on the subject of Indian residents of Mozambique and a collection of discourses produced by the leaders of Indian communities upon their colonial "hosts", we will attempt to show how the absence of a joint encompassing representation of colonial society on the part of many Portuguese whites made the basis of their power seem uncertain and vulnerable. This uncertainty - worsened by a structural doubt regarding the value of the Indian way of thinking and acting - stimulated a process of paranoidization. Especially in the final years of Salazar's regime, this discursive denial of reciprocity competed with an alternative model of representation of colonial society, characterised by a repetitive use of micro-familial positions in the conceptualization of Imperial encounters. However, this model cannot be discounted as an autistic production of colonial power, mirrored by certain social groups, namely, the leaders of the main Indian communities. We will accordingly explore the hypothesis of a co-authorship, both in the gradual recognition of mutual relations between the Portuguese and Indians, and in the emergence of the family-based model of colonial relations itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008


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