'Two Colours, One People'? The Paradoxes of the Multiracial Union Calédonienne in the Commune of Koné (New Caledonia, 1951-1977)

Abstract : Between the 1950s and the 1970s, New Caledonian politics were dominated by one major party, the Union Calédonienne (UC), supported by the vast majority of Kanak voters and a crucial minority of European voters. In retrospect, the multicultural project of the UC under the rubric 'two colours, one people' can seem quite surprising, as it was elaborated less than ten years after the end of a particularly oppressive colonial era and three decades before the emergence of radical Kanak demands for decolonisation. This article will analyse the ambiguous relationships between the UC and New Caledonia's colonial heritage through a micro-historical sociology of the party in the rural commune of Koné (northwest coast) that draws on both archival research and interviews. With regard to both colonial and socio-economic cleavages, I shall retrace the individual and collective trajectories of UC militants and elected members of the mairie (municipal council), to gain a better understanding of the local electoral success of the party. On the scale of Koné, the UC relied in practice on a complex articulation between diverse social logics of political affiliation: across colonial frontiers, within and among Kanak communities, 'little settlers' (petits colons), merchants, mining workers, and 'white' (or not so 'white') local populations.
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Journal articles
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00631086
Contributor : Benoît Trépied <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 2:25:19 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 2:31:11 AM

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Benoît Trépied. 'Two Colours, One People'? The Paradoxes of the Multiracial Union Calédonienne in the Commune of Koné (New Caledonia, 1951-1977). Journal of Pacific History, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2010, 45 (2), pp.247-264. ⟨halshs-00631086⟩

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