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Title: Empire careers : the foreign staff of the Chinese Customs Service, 1854-1949
Author: Ladds, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0001 3603 6513
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis studies the lives and careers of the foreign staff of the Chinese Customs Service between 1854 and 1949, exploring the experience of working for the Customs and the Inspectorate's attempts to mould a cadre of men dedicated to the Customs cause. Through exploring the practical and ideological world of the foreign staff this study illuminates more clearly the Customs' shifting place within the history of modem China, the history of Sino-foreign relations, and the history of work and migrations in the wider empire world. A central aim is to highlight the essential ordinariness of life and work in formal and informal empire and the rather prosaic concerns which often provided the incentive to embark upon an empire career. I take a `life cycle' approach to the history of the foreign staff, mapping typical life and career trajectories. Chapter One begins by examining the recruitment experiences and the socio-economic backgrounds of the foreign staff. Chapter Two turns to the everyday working world of the Customs, paying particular attention to the foreign staffs interactions and conflicts with Chinese communities and foreign and Chinese officials at a local level. The extent and character of misconduct and malpractice within the foreign staff is the subject of Chapter Three and Chapter Four explores the social and private lives of foreign employees. Finally, Chapter Five concludes the thesis by examining the endpoint of Customs careers and post-Service destinations and lives. Above all, this thesis aims to shed more light on the personal ramifications of working within a different state's administration. In their position as employees of a foreign-run multinational service subordinate to the controls of the Chinese government, the national and personal identities and allegiances of Customs men were destabilised, and sometimes remade, during the course of a career.
Supervisor: Bickers, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available