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By Rainer D. K Bruchmann

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The moment fashions its own myth of alterity empowered, repudiating the older myth in the name of a new cultural politics that affects to negotiate or exchange liberal ideology for political and economic advantages. In Book II Rochefort asserts the self-consciously nationalistic claim that the French sought the `consent' of `most considerable persons of the Caribbians' before establishing themselves in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Grenada. `It was done,' he proudly insists, `with the consent of the most considerable persons among the Caribbians, who thereupon dis- 46 The Cultural Politics of Sugar own'd those of their Country-men who would have obstructed the said establishment: Nay, such was their earnestness therein that they employed all their Forces and Councils to oppose the designs of the others, and to secure the French in the peaceable possession of what they had before granted them' (159).

Both Michel Foucault in his Discipline and Punish and H. Orlando Patterson in his magisterial work Slavery and Social Death have de®ned the meanings the body yields under major forms of coercion and duress. By the light of Foucauldian analysis, slavery may be seen as a `machinery of power', one of those `strict powers' which impose upon the body `constraints, prohibitions or obligations'. 25 The totalizing power of the slave-master and his symbolic extension in the proto-industrial technologies of sugar production were constant reminders to the slave of the absolute alienation of his body; the common sight of maimed or dismembered slaves was a graphic reminder, to all who would take heed, of the power of these sources to in¯ict bodily punishments, to leave the imprint of power on their object, to encode the body with meaning.

Both of these de®nitions are intuited in De Certeau's critique on how Western historical practice assimilates the New World into the European consciousness. 12 By extrapolation to Rochefort, these interplays are identi®able with collusion in its etymological dimension (forms of play), and in its ®gurative function as a politics of deceit: while it plays with a retreat from monologism and hegemony, its very identity with play, like negotiation's ambiguous etymology in neg and otium, allows it to play around simultaneously with `emergent' and `residual' modes, one foot in the camp of nationalist±imperialist designs, the other in the camp of enlightened revisionist ethnography.

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