Mapping The British World Summary

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Carl Bridge and Kent Fedorowich attempt to provoke thinking and encourage further research into the acquisition and control of white dominions in their article, ‘Mapping the British World’. They seek to define the term the ‘British World’ and what it meant to be ‘British’, whilst also undermining the stereotypical view of the British Empire as being largely London-Centric. Ultimately they argue that a ‘fresh look’ at British ‘diaspora’ is required and that it was this, aided by globalisation, which led to the development of the British World and an international sense of community.
The authors seek to challenge the historical view of the British Empire, claiming that the traditional view of acquisition, administration and exploitation of empire
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They also emphasise the difference between the British World and the Empire; it being a more ‘fluid’ concept, and arguing that ‘Britishness’ continued in these settlements after the demise of the Empire. They increase validity to their claims with the existence of British Communities in South America and Shanghai, as well as describing the USA as being ‘honorary’ British during the World Wars. The authors’ intentions are to promote study into this ‘relatively new’ area of study, and therefore are attempting to broaden the historiography of the British World. They ultimately argue that this ‘world’ was a consensual association; one where co-operation, equality and autonomy increased post-1918, as opposed to the typical view of coercion and force being dominant factors. They successfully support these claims, providing an account from Menzies, an Australian prime minister in 1960, in which he recalls the British World with great affection. However, whilst they put their arguments forward for this consent convincingly, they place all emphasis on the attitudes and mind-sets of British settlers, as opposed to indigenous peoples of these ‘white’ dominions that these migrants occupied. Therefore it is a one-sided account into how ‘consensual’ the British world …show more content…
Instead, Bridge and Fedorowich claim it to have been a ‘multiplicity’, criticising the use of the terms ‘periphery’ and ‘metropole’ when used in the context of old dominions. They corroborated these claims with the emergence of Melbourne, Auckland and Toronto as cities of global importance, as well as the fact they were typically used as the ‘practice ground’ for political ideas. Here they provide credibility to their claims by providing examples of more liberal, progressive laws being passed in dominions such as Australia before they were in Britain. However, whether this means they were seen as equals to Britain (in the eyes of the British) is doubtful. Although it meant more civil liberties such as female suffrage was granted first in New Zealand, the fact that these ideas were ‘tested’ in the dominions first undermine any thought they were equal if they were used almost as trial settlements before being passed onto

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