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Title: The blackmail of democracy : a genealogy of British/Pakistani democracy promotion
Author: Elliott, C. M.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis begins from the premise that identity is only possible as a function of difference. If someone is British, That is because they are not French or Pakistani. What matters, however, is not the fact of these divisions but how they operate and with what consequences. For contemporary practices of thought, the identification of others by means of temporal distinctions has become extremely important. To explore this, I work genealogically to draw on empirical material from colonia and post-­‐colonial Britain and Pakistan, including legislation, political discourse, government projects and broader cultural representations. I make two main arguments. First, I show the importance of these modes of “temporal othering”. I empirically examine the temporal distinctions that constitute a British, democratic, national identity by dint of positing an “other” that is barbaric, alien, despotic, violent and – most importantly – backward. It is in encountering and constantly re-­‐narrating these threats to democracy that the British come to have a sense of an imagined, democratic community that has emerged -­‐ through a seamless, progressive history -­‐ by virtue of what it is opposed to. Relatedly, democracy is understood as the endpoint of history, with consequences for overseas Democracy Promotion. Second, I argue that it is possible to narrate alternative versions of history. In examining the emergence of such teleological versions of history, I show that teleology isn’t the driving force of history, but rather emerges from the messiness of historical events. Furthermore, the practices that it legitimates are deeply involved in promoting the violence and social marginalisation for which democracy is thought to be the remedy. However, I show that the version of history that currently pervades practices of thought about British identity and democracy promotion is contestable and that therefore it might be possible to think, act and live differently.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available