Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the liberal political subject and the settler state

Harrington, Jack (2015) Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the liberal political subject and the settler state. Journal of Political Ideologies, 20 (3). pp. 333-351. ISSN 1356-9317

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (452kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1080/13569317.2015.1075268


Modern citizenship, with its exclusions and disaggregated freedoms, has a distinct genealogy in the state-formation of settler societies. Ethnic tensions and indigenous rights-claiming in many Anglophone states are frequently traced to their beginnings as settler societies. This is not only a legacy of the rights-claiming discourses of settlers, traced in individual national histories. It owes much to the formal body of literature that justified settler states not primarily as the embodiment of a nation but for the government of transnational populations. Using the writings of Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his contemporaries, this article examines the settler as a problem in British liberal thought. Wakefield’s unease about the settler as a political subject drew together three contemporary discourses, the critique of American society, post-Malthus thinking on poverty and the systematic colonization movement. For Wakefield, settler societies could only prosper through central planning, surveillance and land price fixing, leading to class formation.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2015 09:57
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:07
Projects: 249379
Funders: European Research Council

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics