Colonialism and Postcolonialism

In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell. pp. 892-898 (2013)
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A range of important ethical issues emerges from a consideration of the past interaction between colonizing and colonized peoples. This article first seeks to describe the key characteristics of colonialism as a system of domination and subjugation, before considering the legitimacy of contemporary judgments on the morality of historical colonialism. It then examines how the particular character of colonialism complicates arguments relating to the rectification of injustice. It concludes by asking what lessons those interested in ethics can learn from the diverse body of work produced by writers in the postcolonial tradition.

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Daniel Butt
Oxford University


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