AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractA political philosophy that emerged from the Enlightenment, liberalism has a complex relationship with democracy, colonialism, postcolonialism, globalization, and literature. Democracy has been shaped by a tension between “classical liberalism”, which prioritizes liberty, and “modern liberalism”, which emphasizes equality. Liberalism also moulded the informal empire of free trade, and the “liberal imperialism” that devised a “civilizing mission” to justify formal empire. The development of liberalism has been vital in the anglophone settler colonies, particularly the USA; often, especially in South Africa, it has been focused on racial justice. The neo-liberalism that emerged in the late twentieth century advocates the globalization of unfettered capitalism and personal liberty. Many postcolonialists consider neo-liberalism a reprise of liberal imperialism, with “human rights” replacing the “civilizing mission” as a cultural-imperialist pretext for economic exploitation.
CitationBlair, P. (2016). Liberalism. In R. Sangeeta & H. Schwarz (Eds.), The encyclopedia of postcolonial studies. Chichester, United Kingdom: Wiley Blackwell.
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