Marten Schalkwijk presents a new view on the colonial history of Suriname. The phenomenon of the colonial state in Suriname has not received much attention in de Surinamese historiography. The manners in which local elites gain substantial control of vital state sectors, and contest for power with imperial agents is analyzed in detail in the case of Suriname. But it is of interest for a wider audience in the Caribbean because the case of Suriname is presented in the framework of a typical Caribbean plantation society.
Schalkwijk has collected a wide range of data that concerning this typical plantation society: the social structure of the colonial society, the network relations between individuals, the structure of the bureaucracy etc.
His study is both empirical and theoretical and as such is it a valuable contribution in developing new perspectives for the study of this history of Suriname.