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Imperial progress on the fronts of slavery, poverty and colonialism was conceptualized by agents operating across their narrowly defined boundaries using an intellectual and linguistic repertoire forged from the transformation in human consciousness that occurred late in the eighteenth century. Structural barriers were perceived, but these tended to assume less significance than the threats posed by the persistence of paupers and colonial subjects. How these threats were constructed discursively in the long nineteenth century as a means of understanding and hence controlling them is addressed. This chapter focuses on the problem of metropolitan poverty. Reasonably secure understanding of its structural underpinnings in the modern era can append the complex epistemology of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

in The other empire

that colonial subjects, black slaves and the urban poor were culturally constituted by the doctrine of progressivism, and their continued exploitation justified. The seeming paradox was that this unified project was launched at that moment when elements within Enlightenment humanism encouraged recognition of the longevity of non-European civilizations, and of the barbarity of slavery. As Christopher

in The other empire

in some circumstances. The case of the ZMA also shows how the British were prepared to elastically deploy racial arguments against their Indian and Arab colonial subjects to suit their needs. While in some situations it was regarded as appropriate to work with locals (for example by employing mudirs, or employing Indian Assistant and Sub-Assistant Surgeons within the colonial medical department; see

in Beyond the state
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causes’. 56 He responds appreciatively in her work to what is a major thematic in his own writing – the displaced colonial subject in England – handled by him in both deeply empathetic and satirical ways. The fear of shipwreck and a sense of being adrift had been leitmotifs of The Mimic Men (1967). Ralph Singh’s journeys from the fictive West Indian island of Isabella to London, energised at

in West Indian intellectuals in Britain

in which their concerns were expressed, cannot be explained adequately using the crude analytical tool of political interest. I would like to propose that the idea of progress unified and shaped these anxieties. Within the orbit of modernity, poverty, slavery and colonial expansion came to be perceived as aberrant; the poor, slaves and colonial subjects as defiant. Progress thus acted as an

in The other empire
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progress of imperial modernity. Although I anticipated certain homologies between constructions of the metropolitan poor and colonial subjects, there were few direct cross-references. Travel and evangelical narratives on London infrequently acknowledged the existence of writings on India; conversely, apart from passing mention of the need of a Dickens to describe Indian life, travellers in India did not seem

in The other empire
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An allegory of imperial rapport

radio to rally not only the nation but also the Empire to another war. George VI’s broadcast declaration is in fact an appeal to Empire: ‘For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are at war. … It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my people overseas who will make our cause their own.’ The First World War had put the chivalric contract between colonial subject and monarch to the test

in The British monarchy on screen
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early nineteenth century have to be viewed with due recognition of the imperial context. As urban travellers and evangelicals came to confront the dogged persistence of the poor at a time of perceived progress, and the threat that the poor and colonial subjects posed to the future of the empire, imperial sentiment intensified. We need to be sensitive, however, to the contrasts that continued to exist between these two

in The other empire
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sign of otherness. The poor presented a radical disruption to order by forcing the conjunction of a culturally constituted whiteness with its own metaphors of difference; 26 they could be embraced within a symbolic dualism and hence resolved only by being constructed as black. The Irish, as both colonial subjects and urban poor, were doubly problematic, and it comes as no surprise to find that the

in The other empire
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-octane plant had been built by Trinidad Leaseholds at their refinery at Pointe-à-Pierre in the south of the island in 1937. 59 Beyond the need to prevent colonial revolt, officials feared that any accusation that Britain was incapable of ensuring reasonable levels of social provision for its colonial subjects raised the possibility that after the war Britain’s colonies might be removed altogether and placed under League of Nations mandate. 60 The importance of the unrest in the West Indies during the 1930s for the reform of legislation that led to the

in Science at the end of empire