Post-Colonial Trajectories of Assimilation

Special Report Title: The State and Overseas
By Stéphanie Guyon

In this article, the authors seek to address the singular forms of the State in the French overseas territories. It explores the original historical construction and strengthening of both State interventions and bureaucratic domination in these territories. While drawing up an overview of the existing scholarship, the authors seek to look at the colonial legacies while paying attention to both the variety of the decolonization processes and their complex temporalities in the overseas territories. Instead of naturalizing the so-called “specificity” of political interventions and the State in these territories, they look at the various forms of mobilizations that contribute to frame them as “singular” or “exceptional”. The authors also argue that the evolution of such framing is closely related to processes of politicization and depoliticization. Finally, building on the street-level bureaucracy scholarship, they look at the practical dimensions of state action and administrative encounters.

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