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LAGW Seminar: How the Weak Still Win: Middle Class Maneuvers for the Post-Colonial State

April 20 @ 2:00 pm 4:00 pm

Gilman Hall 308

The Johns Hopkins Latin America in a Globalizing World works in progress seminar welcomes Professor Zophia Edwards, Sociology, JHU, to present: How the Weak Still Win: Middle Class Maneuvers for the Post-Colonial State

Scholars seeking to explain post-colonial state-building across the formerly colonized world typically turn to Antonio Gramsci’s concept of the passive revolution and/or Frantz Fanon’s discussion of decolonization and anticolonial nationalism. Both theoretical traditions describe elite maneuvers from above, and overwhelmingly focus on cases where elites were relatively well-consolidated prior to mobilization from below. Through an historical analysis of Trinidad and Tobago, this paper examines a case where the independent organization of the local elite was weak relative to working people at the time of mass mobilization and decolonization, and still, it was able to take over the nationalist movement, occupy the post-colonial state, and ensure the reproduction of capitalism after independence. This paper shows the process by which this weak local elite came to power, highlighting the specific strategies these actors deployed as they formed political parties and sought to capture state power. By identifying the specific political tools available to and utilized by this class, this article extends sociological theories of passive revolutions and anti-colonial scholarship on the politics of decolonization.

“Please email Prof. Casey Lurtz ([email protected]) for a copy of the paper and the Zoom link.”

Location: Gilman Hall 308