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Title: The making of an imperial ideal of service : Britain and India before 1914
Author: Brewis, Georgina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8547
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores how colonial encounters shaped patterns of charitable giving and voluntary service in metropolitan Britain and colonial India before 1914. It has long been recognised that societies in the nineteenth-century British world were imbued with a strong moral earnestness which found an outlet in voluntary social service. Men and women in Britain shared a hegemonic set of assumptions regarding duty and personal service while educationists placed strong emphasis on the value of education through service. The thesis argues that this ideal of service was made in part through encounters with traditions of voluntary action found in British colonies, particularly India, and thereby attempts to revise conventional histories of social service by locating service firmly within an imperial context. Most histories of British voluntary action have failed to set domestic developments in colonial context and therefore scholars have rarely been in a position to ask whether it was because a service ideal was learnt in empire that models of voluntary action took the form they did in Britain or in societies colonised by Britain. The thesis addresses four key questions. First, it explores the empire's contribution to the development of volunteering and voluntary action in Britain. Second, I examine the dialogical nature of the philanthropic connections forged between Britain and India before the First World War. Third, it discusses the extent to which voluntary social service was framed by concerns around citizenship and nation building in Britain and India. Finally, I consider the legacies of the imperial ideal of service, linking the historical work to contemporary debates on voluntary service and citizenship. Through discussion of all these questions, the thesis aims to make a contribution to what is a relatively new field of scholarship on imperial benevolence and its legacies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available