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Policing in Colonial Empires

Cases, Connections, Boundaries (ca. 1850–1970)


Edited By Emmanuel Blanchard, Marieke Bloembergen and Amandine Lauro

Colonial security strategies and the postcolonial vestiges they left both in the global South and in former metropoles have recently attracted renewed academic attention. Policing in Colonial Empires is a collection of essays reflecting current, ongoing research and exploring the multifaceted dynamics of policing in colonial societies over the past two centuries. Spanning several continents and colonial contexts (some of them liminal or little-explored), the book examines the limits and legitimacies of the functioning of colonial policing. Addressing issues such as collaboration, coercion, violence, race, and intelligence, the collected works ask what exactly was colonial about colonial policing. Together, the contributors point out the complex nature of colonial law and order maintenance, and provide insights on histories that might reflect the legacies of its many variants.

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Shaping an Empire of Predictions: The Mozambique Information Centralization and Coordination Services (1961-1974) (Sandra Araújo)


← 136 | 137 →

Shaping an Empire of Predictions

The Mozambique Information Centralization and Coordination Services (1961-1974)


The SCCI – acronym for Serviços de Centralização e Coordenação de Informações (Information Centralization and Coordination Services) – was created on 29 June 1961, with branches in Angola (SCCIA) and Mozambique (SCCIM).1 These administrative intelligence agencies took the form of local colonial civil services tasked with the assignment of gathering, analyzing, disseminating, and coordinating intelligence on colonial politics, administration, and defense. Academic research concerning the Portuguese colonial security services disclose that SCCI co-existed, collaborated, and competed all at once with other civilian and military intelligence agencies, but never really became a key actor in the Portuguese imperial security landscape during the Liberation wars.2 While the Armed Forces and the Portuguese political police (known as PIDE) played a pivotal role,3 SCCI remained a secondary player in the Portuguese intelligence apparatus and left a hardly perceptible cultural imprint in postcolonial memories.

Still, the role of SCCI was never a negligible one. Archival records, postcolonial written and oral testimonies, and recent academic works suggest that SCCI has significantly contributed, if not to direct repressive actions, at least to intelligence gathering at large. Indeed, SCCI studies and analysis are a crucial source of strategic political data on colonial subjects, ← 137 | 138 → with a unique and particular focus on social and cultural features.4 It is therefore not surprising to see its archives thoroughly...

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