Law, Order, and Empire: Policing and Crime in Colonial Algeria, 1870-1954 (Hardcover)

Law, Order, and Empire: Policing and Crime in Colonial Algeria, 1870-1954 By Samuel Kalman Cover Image
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While much attention has focused on society, culture, and the military during the Algerian War of Independence, Law, Order, and Empire addresses a vital component of the empire that has been overlooked: policing. Samuel Kalman examines a critical component of the construction and maintenance of a racial state by settlers in Algeria from 1870 onward, in which Arabs and Berbers were subjected to an ongoing campaign of symbolic, structural, and physical violence. The French administration encouraged this construct by expropriating resources and territory, exploiting cheap labor, and monopolizing government, all through the use of force.

Kalman provides a comprehensive overview of policing and crime in French Algeria, including the organizational challenges encountered by officers. Unlike the metropolitan variant, imperial policing was never a simple matter of law enforcement but instead engaged in the defense of racial hegemony and empire. Officers and gendarmes waged a constant struggle against escalating banditry, the assault and murder of settlers, and nationalist politics--anticolonial violence that rejected French rule. Thus, policing became synonymous with repression, and its brutal tactics foreshadowed the torture and murder used during the War of Independence. To understand the mechanics of empire, Kalman argues that it was the first line of defense for imperial hegemony.

Law, Order, and Empire outlines not only how failings in policing were responsible for decolonization in Algeria but also how torture, massacres, and quotidian colonial violence--introduced from the very beginning of French policing in Algeria--created state-directed aggression from 1870 onward.

About the Author

Samuel Kalman is Professor of History at St. Francis Xavier University. He is the author of French Colonial Fascism and The Extreme Right in Interwar France.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781501774041
ISBN-10: 1501774042
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication Date: March 15th, 2024
Pages: 276
Language: English