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    Utilitarianism and the painful Orient

    Haldar, Piyel (2007) Utilitarianism and the painful Orient. Social and Legal Studies 16 (4), pp. 573-590. ISSN 0964-6639.

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    The impact of Utilitarian thought on legal and quasi-legal institutions is immense. Its language pervades at the level of agendas, goals, invectives and proscriptions. Yet, little attention is paid to the manner in which Utilitarianism addresses the question of fidelity. The history of Western institutional statecraft is simultaneously a history of the profound fidelity of subjects to institutions. Does Utilitarianism have a discernible theory of subjectivity? This article takes the case of the introduction of Utilitarian reforms in British India in order to illustrate that the question of subjective attachment most useful to modern rational thinking arises in the modes of thought that such progressive thinking sought to exclude. In the case of British India, Utilitarian reforms (driven by temperate pleasures) were forced to rely upon Oriental tropes of politics that were considered illicit, despotic, and excessive. Such a case study alerts us to the manner in which all forms of Utilitarianism remain linked to arcane modes of address.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Bentham, British India, Durbar, excess, Fitzjames Stephens, Mill, Orientalism, pleasure, Utilitarianism
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Business and Law > Birkbeck Law School
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2019 16:29
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:48


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