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Title: Lascars, c.1850-1950 : the lives and identities of Indian seafarers in Imperial Britain and India
Author: Fidler, Ceri-Anne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 0545
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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My thesis focuses on the lives of Indian Lascars or seafarers in Imperial Britain between 1850 and 1950. I explore their working and living conditions on these ships; issues such as their health and accommodation on shipboard are discussed and compared to those of their British colleagues. The relationships and hierarchies of power on shipboard are also considered. The thesis challenges the perception that Indian seafarers' resistance was always unlawful and not blind, personalised or violent (Balachandran). The concept of moral economy is employed to illustrate how Indian seafarers had certain expectations of their rights on shipboard and protested against violations of these standards when opportunities arose. I explore British perceptions of Indian seafarers. For example, depictions of Indians in the British popular press are explored. The position of Indian seafarers in relation to other non-European seafarers is also considered. My thesis explores how Indian seafarers constructed and negotiated identities both collectively and as individuals in different contexts and at different times. Building upon theoretical approaches to identity, I illustrate how Indian seafarers constructed multiple and fluid identities that changed over time. I describe how Indian seafarers were able to shuffle identities like cards (Colley) and illustrate the reasoning and choice behind their identities (Sen). I also consider how Indian seafarers constructed, negotiated and manipulated the boundaries of collective identities. It explores the role of the family in the migration process, whether temporarily for work or for more long term migration and settlement in Britain. The role of the family in India in the decision to migrate and their support for absent seafarers is documented. The impact of prolonged absences of seafarers on family life is also explored.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available