Mimesis and Assemblage: The Imperial Durbars at Delhi

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

With a specific emphasis on the imperial durbar as symbolic form and ritual content, the paper explores how the British, until 1857 in the guise of the East India Company, drew on and gradually adjusted local customs and notions of rightful authority as part of their annexation and subjection of South Asian polities. The paper suggests that the the imperial durbars of 1877, 1903 and 1911, as well as the 'non-durbar' of 1936-38, make manifest how the projection and assertion of imperial paramountcy was bound up with efforts to anchor it in symbols and rituals associated with the sovereign expressions of 'native rulers' in particular, and in 'tradition' and the 'traditional' more generally. At the heart of the paper is, hence, not solely the ritualisation that the imperial durbars signified, enacted and made possible. It, in addition, attends to what Douglas E. Haynes has referred to as the co-constitution of 'ritual order' and 'political order' in a South Asian context and its impact on British attempts to concurrently preserve existing hierarchies and to, in vain, present themselves as distant and objective civil servants.

Details

Authors
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Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science

Keywords

  • British Empire, state making, ritual, durbar, India, symbolic form, imperialism, paramountcy
Original languageEnglish
Pages5-25
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2017 Oct

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Papers Series
No.4
Volume2017

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