awad issa mansour on total war and de-orientalising settler colonialisms in the US, australia, south africa, and israel/palestine


Awad Issa Mansour, ‘Orientalism, Total War and the Production of Settler Colonial Existence: The United States, Australia, Apartheid South Africa and the Zionist’ (PHD Dissertation, University of Exeter, 2011).

Picking up on current research about settler colonialism, this study uses a modified version of a model explaining modern-state formation to explain settler-colonial formation. Charles Tilly identified two simultaneous processes at work – war-making and state-making which produced modern states in Western Europe. Settler-colonial systems engage(d) in a particular type of war to produce their existence: total war. Hence, a modified version of total-war-making and settler-colonial-existence-making (production) occuring in the settler-colonial-creation phase is proposed. However, before this conceptual analytical framework could be developed, it was necessary to examine the meanings of terms such as ‘nation’ and ‘nation-state’ as well as concepts such as settler-colonialism and total war. The sample of relevant literature analyzed revealed inconsistencies in the meanings of the terms when applying W.H. Newton-Smith’s theory of meaning, suggesting the influence of what Edward Said identified as the workings of orientalism. This has conceptual implications on terms such as settler-colonialism and the meaning of the type of war it wages upon the indigenous nations. It also has implications on developing a conceptual analytical tool to understand the dynamics of the production of the settler-colonial existence. Thus, the terms and concepts needed to be de-orientalized before using them in the modified model which was then used to examine initially three settler-colonial cases: the United States, Australia and Apartheid South Africa. The modified analytical model was able to highlight particular dynamics relevant to settler-colonial systems and was then used – with the incremental and imbricate research done in the first three chapters – to examine the Zionist case. It illustrated that while the cases of the United States and Australia were able pass their creation phases, the Apartheid case could not and subsequently collapsed. The Zionist case seems to be still in its settler-colonial-creation phase. This has implications on current analysis concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

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