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date: 30 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The world in which we live is largely the product of the rise, competition, and fall of empires. This chapter examines European, and principally British, ideologies of imperialism during the last two hundred years. The chapter starts by distinguishing between imperial imaginaries, ideologies, and theories, before dissecting elements of the western imperial imaginary, focusing in particular on notions of civilizational hierarchy. The rest of the article examines three ideal-typical aspects of imperial ideology: justification; governance; and resistance. Ideologies of justification provide reasons for supporting or upholding imperial activity, seeking to legitimate the creation, reproduction, or expansion of empire. Ideologies of governance articulate the modalities of imperial rule in specific contexts. Finally, ideologies of resistance reject imperial control.

Keywords: empire, imperialism, imperial imaginary, civilization, resistance

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