Biar mati anak: Jangan mati adat [Better your children die than your traditions]: Locally raised forces as a barometer for imperialism and decolonisaiton in British South East Asia, 1874-2001

Hack, Karl A. (2002). Biar mati anak: Jangan mati adat [Better your children die than your traditions]: Locally raised forces as a barometer for imperialism and decolonisaiton in British South East Asia, 1874-2001. South East Asia Research, 10(3) pp. 245–275.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5367/000000002101297071

Abstract

Colonial armies are often studied as microcosms of imperial power and society. This paper makes the case for looking at local defence contributions in wider terms as well: as reflections of a colony's place within a system of world power. It argues that different types of colony played different roles in Britain's system of world power, producing different kinds of security. Hence, while maritime South East Asia at first appears to be a mere appendage to the Indian Raj, and a mere consumer of defence, it shows that the area also played a crucial role in supporting the wider system. The paper then suggests that such a broad conceptualization of colonial defence can be the starting point for integrating colonial army historiography with other, overlapping historiographical traditions. In this case, it means asking questions about the overlap between the themes of colonial armies, the world system of power of each empire, decolonization and regional developments.

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