This thesis studies the complex linkages between political and public discourse on Surinamese independence (ca. 1973 - 1977). Surinamese independence is often understood as a historical break (that occurred on 25 November 1975) by which ‘Surinamese people’ obtained ‘their independence’. This image resonates with many academic studies on Surinamese independence that often highlight a macro-level, e.g. in terms of nationalities/ethnicities, economic structures and legal-political institutions. Questioning the marginalised role of voices of ordinary people and alternative experiences in many of these accounts, this study reconstructs political and public discourse on independence based on over one hundred newspaper articles and a dozen of in-depth interviews with ordinary Surinamese people. This reconstruction reveals a multi-layered and complex image of various themes and positions associated with Surinamese independence. Based on empirical analyses, this thesis argues that even though political and public discourse show some overlap in terms of themes and positions regarding independence (reference to ‘25 November 1975’, migration flows, economic relations and ethnic diversity), some voices within public discourse were virtually absent in political discourse. Two cases exemplify this discrepancy; for some people independence was about ‘having a nice time’ without knowing what it actually meant, and others already experienced and knew freedom prior to the ‘official independence’. With such findings, this thesis sheds a different light on what was actually at stake around 1975 at different levels in Surinamese society. This thesis contributes to our understandings of Surinamese independence, in particular by presenting alternative histories and memories about contemporary Surinam.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Surinamese Independence, Political and Public Discourse, Surinam, Discourse Analysis, (Post-) Colonialism
Thesis Advisor Stipriaan
Persistent URL
Series Maatschappijgeschiedenis / History of Society
Jhagroe, S.S. (2012, August 31). Redemption, ambivalebnce and self-deceit. Maatschappijgeschiedenis / History of Society. Retrieved from