The Legacy of Colonialism: Origins and Outcomes of Social Protection

21 November 2019

Amanda Shriwise gave a talk on "The Legacy of Colonialism: Origins and Outcomes of Social Protection" at Department of Sociology, University of Kansas.


To explain policy-making in today’s advanced economies, classical accounts emphasize domestic structures and actors. External factors – especially actors – play a less central role. As a consequence, classical accounts are limited in their ability to explain policy-making in cases where external actors are pivotal. Considering that most of today’s nation states have been subordinated to others at some point, this is not a minor limitation. In this paper, we address colonialism as a particular kind of transitional governance in order to better understand policy-making now and then. We lay out how external actors feature in different theories of colonialism and propose a unified framework for an actor-centric approach to policy-making in the presence of powerful external actors. Two important strengths of the framework are that: (i) it can be amended to suit different research questions as well as different theoretical and conceptual predispositions; and (ii) it can capture the actor dynamics before and after independence. We illustrate our framework through a comparison of the British and French Empires, and outline directions for future research.