Structure and Agency in the World of Asian Commerce during the Era of European Colonial Domination (c. 1750-1950)

in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient
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Abstract

This paper examines the theme of the 'survival' of Asian business in the period of European colonial domination in Asia, i.e. c. 1750-1950, through the trajectories of some Indian merchant communities. It shows how Indian nationalist discourse systematically overlooked the role played by Indian merchants in the economies of colonized countries outside India. A critique of the paradigm of the great pan-Asian bazaar as put forward by the Indian historian Rajat Ray follows. The last section looks at two networks of Sind merchants which operated worldwide during the colonial period, and proposes a different reading of the evidence regarding the insertion of Indian merchants within a European-dominated world economy. Cet article traite du thème de la « survie » des marchands asiatiques pendant la période de domination coloniale européenne à travers une analyse de certaines communautés marchandes indiennes. On souligne que le discours nationaliste indien a tendu à négliger le rôle joué par des marchands indiens dans l'économie de nombreux pays colonisés en dehors de l'Inde. On examine de façon critique la théorie du « grand bazar pan-asiatique » proposée par l'historien indien Rajat Ray. A partir d'une étude de deux réseaux marchands de la province du Sind, on propose une vue différente de l'insertion des marchands asiatiques dans l'économie coloniale globale.

Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Journal d'Histoire Economique et Sociale de l'Orient

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