Residenten, koloniale staat en koloniale samenleving
: Residenten van Java en hun intermediaire functie 1860-1940

Translated title of the thesis: Residenten, colonial state and colonial society: Residenten of Java and their role as mediators 1860-1940
  • M.A.M. Verbart

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a colonial state was formed on Java, the main island of the Dutch East Indies archipelago. Research into the functioning of a state is not possible without studying the way in which this state is rooted in society. Mediators play an important role in this rooting: ‘regional officials who connect state and society and act not only as executors of the rules of a centralized administration, but also as advocates for local needs and wishes.’451 This study focused on the so-called residenten, the most important administrative officials at the regional level in the Dutch East Indies.
    The research focused on the residenten of three regions of Java, appointed in the period 1860-1940: a period in which state intervention increased, colonial society modernized and colonial administration had to respond to the increasing empowerment of the population and the call for decentralization and /or independence. The overarching research question has been to what extent the residenten of Bantam, Semarang and Madioen have functioned as intermediaries between state and society, in the period 1860-1940.
    Their functioning as intermediaries was influenced by the contexts in which they operated. However, the way in which they acted as intermediaries also depended on their personal characteristics and qualities. This study established the political, administrative and social context in which these residenten operated. Subsequently, their group characteristics were mapped and analysed, using prosopographical research of their personnel registers and other biographical sources. This concerned characteristics of their recruitment, their origin and decent, education and careers, circulation and their interaction within the state apparatus and with the population.
    The present study shows that the residenten have been important links between the state and the population. However, they were not intermediaries. Their actions turned out to be insufficiently geared to what the population itself saw as its interests. It was not only ambivalences in colonial policy and administrative choices based on (racial) prejudice that contributed to a gap between state and population. The aforementioned group characteristics were also the cause of a lack of intermediate competences. This turned out to be partly the result of a government that left untapped opportunities to develop such competencies through, among other things, open recruitment and more control over careers and circulation. Prejudice, paternalism and conservatism continued to characterize the interaction of the residenten with the population and with officials of the Inlands Bestuur.
    Date of Award21 Mar 2022
    Original languageDutch
    SupervisorMartijn van der Burg (Supervisor) & Caroline Drieënhuizen (Examiner)


    • cultuurgeschiedenis
    • koloniale staat
    • koloniale samenleving
    • Java

    Master's Degree

    • Master Kunst en Cultuurwetenschappen

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