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Revista de Sociologia e Política

Print version ISSN 0104-4478On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


BOURDIEU, Pierre  and  SAYAD, Abdelmalek. Colonial rule and cultural sabir. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2006, n.26, pp.41-60. ISSN 0104-4478.

The French policy of 'resettlement' of Algerian peasants, designed to undercut popular support for the nationalist war of liberation (1954-62), led to the displacement of one-fourth of the indigenous population of Algeria in 1960. By disciplining space and rigidly reorganizing the life of the fellahin under the sign of the uniform, the French military hoped to tame a people, but it only completed what early colonial policy and the generalization of monetary exchanges had started: the 'depeasantization' of agrarian communities stripped of the social and cultural means to make sense of their present and get hold of their future. War thus accomplished the latent intention of colonial policy, which is to disintegrate the indigenous social order in order to subordinate it, whether it be under the banner of segregation or assimilation. But imperial domination also produces a new type of subject containing within himself or herself the contradictions born of the clash of civilizations: the patterns of behavior and economic ethos imported by colonization coexist inside of the exiled Algerian peasant with those inherited from ancestral tradition, fostering antinomic conducts, expectations, and aspirations. This double-sidedness of objective and subjective reality threatened to undermine the efforts to socialize agriculture after independence, as the logic of decolonization inclined the educated petty bourgeoisie of bureaucrats to magically deny the contradictions of reality as shameful ghosts of a dead colonial past.

Keywords : colonialism; war; peasantry; uprooting; French imperialism; Kabyle culture; Algeria.

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