Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 May 2013
This book has assessed the ways in which states of emergency operated as a technique of governmentality in former European colonial states and the postcolonial legacies of such laws and techniques. As a law that suspends the normal rule of law, colonial states of emergency cannot be understood with reference to the rule of law alone, but also demand an engagement with the technologies of power, discourse and representation that stabilise particular formations of colonial sovereignty. As we have seen, colonial stereotypes and narratives have played a significant role in framing anti-colonial insurgents as the cause of colonial states of emergency and the often violent and repressive practices of counterinsurgency they enable. In different ways, the representation of the Indian revolutionary in Candler's Siri Ram Revolutionist, of the Mau Mau in Ruark's Something of Value, and the FLN in Larteguy's Les centurions, can be seen to justify the law-preserving violence of the colonial state. Against such stereotypes and narratives, writers such as Wicomb, Ngũgĩ, Djebar and Khoury have not only contested the truth claims of colonial narratives of emergency, they have also articulated forms of agency and collective resistance to colonial sovereignty and its often violent postcolonial legacies. In so doing, they have tried to do justice to the fragmented and often traumatic history of the oppressed.