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In Defense: Elite Power

  • Tijo Salverda
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Abstract

March 12, 1968, marked the collapse of almost two centuries of Franco-Mauritian hegemony. That day the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius gained its independence from the UK, which was the continuation of a process toward a multiethnic democracy that had begun in the preceding decades. This was of disadvantageous to the white colonial elite, the Franco-Mauritians, as the overlap between their elite position and ethnic background was associated with colonial domination. Franco-Mauritians had strongly opposed independence as they feared that their position might be compromised, especially since they only numbered about 1 percent of the population vis-à-vis much larger sections of Hindus (52 percent), Creoles (28 percent), Muslims (16 percent), and Sino-Mauritians (3 percent). Remarkably, however, more than 40 years later, the Franco-Mauritians, who currently number about 10,000 out of a population of 1.3 million, can still be considered an elite—albeit that they no longer constitute a hegemon. In comparison, white elites in other postcolonial states, such as a number of Caribbean islands, also retained postcolonial positions of power. The relative success of securing their elite position is, in my opinion, not sufficiently explained by existing theories on (elite) power.

Keywords

Prime Minister Sugar Industry Electoral Campaign Caribbean Island Sugar Estate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Jon Abbink and Tijo Salverda 2013

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