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Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: D, DS
This thesis studies the formation of the early modern colonial state in Asia. Through an exploration of the English East India Company, it examines the dynamics which shaped political authority, colonial governance and the performance of state power in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Specifically, the following research argues that a process of political decentralisation took place within the Company. This was driven by the pursuit of ‘private interests’ on behalf of the Company’s servants in Asia, who, as a result neglected, resisted or subverted the ‘public interests’ of their masters in London. Key to this reconfiguration of power were the family networks established by Company servants between Europe and Asia, and across Asia itself in this period. As constructs of exchange, circulation and movement, family networks allowed Company servants to exercise considerable political agency, distinct from metropolitan authorities. In so doing, they transformed the political landscape around them, laying the foundations of the early modern colonial state through a process of private state formation from the turn of the eighteenth century onwards.
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