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Title: Britain and the end of Empire : a study of colonial governance in Cyprus, Kenya and Nyasaland against the backdrop of the internationalisation of empire and the evolution of a supranational human rights culture and jurisprudence, 1938-1965
Author: Kennedy, Kate
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 506X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis traces British colonial governance and the workings of the late colonial state from 1938 until the end of empire in the early 1960s in Cyprus, Kenya and Nyasaland. It proposes that colonial governance operated in place and time back and forth across a spectrum, typified by polarities of (i) 'soft' management and regulation of colonial populations in the 1940s, and (ii) 'hard' control exemplified by the use of harsh physical coercion in the 1950s, although both 'soft' and 'hard' approaches - and hybrid variants somewhere in between - were always, in truth, sides of the same coin. British colonial governance is examined through the filter of three approximate, although not rigidly linear, 'phases': (1) a 'soft' phase of development and welfare from 1938-45, during which the rhetoric of governance was distinguished by the language of benevolence, in the attempt to re-legitimise empire, (2) the post-war period from 1945-1950, when Britain played a leading role in establishing supranational institutions promoting universal human rights and also, and however reluctantly, extended a modified human rights regime to its colonies, and (3) the swing to 'hard' governance during emergency periods in Cyprus (1955-59), Kenya (1952-60) and Nyasaland (1959-60), during which Britain strove to resolve the dichotomy between competing domestic and international demands of (a) maintenance of empire, often through the use of coercive physical measures, and (b) promotion of universal human rights on the world stage. This was all played out, at least in part, as an albeit muted ideological confrontation between opposing post-war visions of global order - the very survival of the old imperial system pitched against the implicitly decolonising thrust of the universal human rights movement as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the European Convention on Human Rights (1950). This thesis argues that by 1959 and in part as a consequence of the cumulative political impact of allegations of human rights and other abuses during emergency periods, Britain could no longer reconcile these competing visions of colonial governance and world order, nor sustain its empire and colonial rule by force.
Supervisor: Darwin, John Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: History ; International ; imperial and global history ; empire ; human rights ; Cyprus ; Kenya ; Nyasaland