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3 - Politics of Comparison

The Dutch Model and the Reform of Colonial Training Schools

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2022

Florian Wagner
Affiliation:
Universität Erfurt, Germany
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Summary

Chapter 3 shows that the ICI ousted indigenous experts and administrators by sending allegedly well-prepared and well-resourced Europeans to the colonies. Using comparison to determine a best practice of colonial administration, ICI members reformed the training schools for European administrators. However, misinterpretations often characterized their comparisons. Stereotype and archetype-comparisons gave rise to the idea that the Dutch Indies was the most professional and rational empire, while prototype-comparisons disproved this idea. According to the Dutch model, administrators should be specialists in native culture, resistant to the tropical climate, and rule independently of the “unprofessional” bureaucracy in the mother country. In reality, ICI members evoked an idealized Dutch stereotype to impose their interests of increasing salaries, health insurance benefits, and old-age pensions for their careers. While ICI members also co-opted indigenous expert-administrators, they excluded them from these benefits. Around 1914, the number of European employees had doubled in many colonies and they ousted indigenous experts. Non-Europeans hitherto complained to lack “the prospect of advancing through eagerness and seniority.” Indeed, the ICI favored internationalization of colonial staff over indigenization and thus belied its own principles of indirect rule.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Politics of Comparison
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.004
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  • Politics of Comparison
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.004
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Politics of Comparison
  • Florian Wagner, Universität Erfurt, Germany
  • Book: Colonial Internationalism and the Governmentality of Empire, 1893–1982
  • Online publication: 14 January 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009072229.004
Available formats
×