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Imperial IntoxicationAlcohol and the Making of Colonial Indochina$
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Gerard Sasges

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824866884

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824866884.001.0001

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The Limits of Sovereignty

The Limits of Sovereignty

(p.71) 4 The Limits of Sovereignty
Imperial Intoxication

Gerard Sasges

University of Hawai'i Press

Rather than serve as the foundation for the territorially sovereign state, the alcohol regime undermined and then redrew many of Indochina’s administrative boundaries. The most obvious example is the alcohol Régie of Tonkin and Northern Annam, which reconfigured one of Indochina’s basic administrative boundaries, that of its five consitutent “countries” (pays). More remarkable is the way much of Indochina remained outside the reach of the alcohol economies. In broad expanses of Tonkin, Annam, Cochinchina, Cambodia and Laos, interactions of geography, history, and people limited the penetration both of the SFDIC’s alcohol and of state systems of control. The result was three distinct political-industrial economies: one a reconfigured Tonkin, another a reconfigured Cochinchina, and a third “near beyond” subject to very different and more flexible regimes of economic exploitation and State control. These regimes generated very different experiences of colonial rule, economic development, and state-building, with important implications for the post-colonial states to come.

Keywords:   Indochina, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Colonialism, Sovereignty, borders

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