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Apostles of ModernitySaint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria$
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Osama Abi-Mershed

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804769099

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804769099.001.0001

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Never the Twain Shall Meet?

Never the Twain Shall Meet?

(p.17) Chapter One Never the Twain Shall Meet?
Apostles of Modernity
Stanford University Press

This chapter presents an account of a departure in France's political decision making in Algeria and in the ideological justifications for its colonial rule. The decisive turn occurred in the late 1840s and was driven by the administrative ascendance of a group of colonial officers serving in military intelligence units known as the Bureaux of Arab Affairs (Bureaux arabes). The chapter shows that the general theory of colonial assimilation fails to fit the facts of policy making in Algeria, especially during the formative decades of French rule. It argues that political and cultural assimilation was not the undisputed doctrinal lodestar for colonial policies and seldom unified the French administration with a bedrock of operative principles before 1870. Instead, for much of the period under review, the nascent colony was governed in fits of political uncertainty or procedural incoherence, and with policies of trial and error.

Keywords:   Algeria, colonial rule, colonial policy, Arab Affairs, colonial assimilation

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