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Ornamentalism : How the British Saw Their Empire download epub

by David Cannadine


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Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire is a book by David Cannadine about British perceptions of the British Empire.

Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire is a book by David Cannadine about British perceptions of the British Empire. Cannadine argues that class, rank and status were more important to the British Empire than race. The title of the work Ornamentalism is a direct reference to Edward Said's book Orientalism, which argues the existence of prejudiced outsider interpretations of the East ("the Other"}, shaped by the attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.

David Cannadine's Ornamentalism is so stimulating and original that it will now and forever after be read hand in hand with Edward Said's Orientalism. Cannadine's vision is quite different. He brilliantly recovers the world-view and social presuppositions of those who dominated and ruled the Empire, and thus restores the Empire to British social history. He is the author of many acclaimed books including The Rise and Fall of Class in Britain, and . Trevelyan: A Life in History.

by. Cannadine, David, 1950-.

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The British Empire has generally been seen as a racist empire (most influentially in Edward Said's ORIENTALISM). The British rulers were motivated not by race but by class - they loathed Indians or Africans no more or less than they loathed the great majority of Englishmen, dreaming of an empire based on deference and feudalism.

The British empire has generally been seen as a racist empire. The British rulers were motivated not by race but by class - they loathed Indians or Africans no more or less than they loathed the majority of Englishmen, dreaming of an empire based on defence and feudalism.

In some undefined division of labour, rather like the chasm that exists in a newspaper office between departments of home and foreign news, one group deals with the metropolis, another with the wider world. As a result, the British are positively discouraged from seeing their homeland and.

In Ornamentalism, David Cannadine discusses the British empire's Image abroad and at home. He argues that the Empire was a class-based system intent on preserving the status quo, and that it was largely a net of Class and Feudal ideas held together by an almost Roman set of ideals. I can't say that he fully won me over, but he makes a good argument. The book is filled with stories and anecdotes that Cannadine feels support his thesis, but one man's "Establishment elites" are another man's In Ornamentalism, David Cannadine discusses the British empire's Image.

Saw Their Empire is a book by David Cannadine about British perceptions of the British Empire. The title of the work Ornamentalism is a direct reference to Edward Said's book Orientalism, which argues the existence of prejudiced outsider interpretations. of the East, shaped by the attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.

also published fourteen books, most especially Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their. Empire (2002), which serves as the focus of this presentation.

The British Empire has generally been seen as a racist empire (most influentially in Edward Said's "Ornamentalism"). While not wholly denying this, Cannadine, in this funny, often horrifying book, suggests a different dynamic. The British rulers were motivated not by race but by class - they loathed Indians or Africans no more or less than they loathed the great majority of Englishmen, dreaming of an empire based on deference and feudalism. The often farcical gap between these views and reality make "Ornamentalism" both highly enjoyable and extremely provocative for anyone wishing to understand how the British Empire really worked.

Comments: (7)

X-MEN
I used this book in my master's examination and it was wonderful. Rich in detail.
felt boot
Had to read this book for one of my college history courses. Turned out to be a good read regardless of the assignments.
Fato
Let's start off with the title. Unlike the book, which does not mention the term until page 122, simply put it is an explanation of the method by which Great Britain exercised (indirect?) control over its Empire. Cannadine argues that the Empire was governed using a theatrical form of social elitism which interpreted local societies as a reflection of the multilayered and tightly ranked home society in Britain. What this meant was that local aristos were sought out by the British (eg Maharajahs, Sultans, Nawabs, tribal chiefs, Bedouin leader/kings. In the settled dominions these were drawn from settled grandees - especially and initially in Ireland) and placed alongside the British colonial regimes to lend legitimacy and local control. Why ornamental? Because an elaborate system of rewards based on the award of (colourful & ornate) honours within a structure of conspicuous display for those of local & British high rank (Indian durbars, investitures, "plumed hats") bred a form of upper class bonding that crossed caste & race differences to create a ruling class that controlled one quarter of the globe in the interests of Britain.

In a way this was no more than Louis XIV's use of Versailles court procedure - making up grand offices/titles/costumes for the upper nobility in return for a superficial court task, but this kept them quiet and allowed Louis to rule absolutely.

Everyone, local dignitary or colonial official, knew their place in the hierarchy and energies focused on climbing up the decorative ladder and not falling out with the fount of promotion - London. Hence colonial government was carried out as London wished, and the plumed hats and fancy awards poured out to those in government, especially the local royalty. Reading this it struck me how this concept had survived even to the Scottish public school I attended in the 1960's where everyone had a defined role, ornamentally visible and so enforceable to everyone else (under 13 years old-short trousers, aged 14: uniform jacket had to be closed at all times using the middle button; aged 15: jacket could be open; aged 16: hands could be put in pockets; aged 17: could wear a non uniform jacket. Prefects: could wear special ties, Team players could embroider teams in gold thread on jacket. Everyone then policed the system to ensure no younger boy could exercise their "privilege". Indeed this was control on the cheap for the school!).

Cannadine's is an interesting idea but there are several issues:
* There is too little on who actually perceived the Empire in this way at the time and more importantly who cultivated it.
* What was the role of the new "yellow press"?
* How conscious a process was it? This is especially significant when the book shows how even the British ruling classes were so ready to get rid of the ornamental Empire and betray its colonial collaborators during decolonisation.

Nonetheless there is much to this work, most perhaps in its final sections where it is clear that ornamentalism was no preparation for independent nationhood - once Britain left and deserted those it had previously been happy to collaborate with, the new regimes put in place by the departing British came from those (lower) social classes previously excluded from government. Lacking experience or traditional supporters, the outcome in most ex colonies was to be instability and long term chaos.

Another salient point to emerge: the crucial role played by Britain's Irish experience: first colony where ornamentalism was practiced and model for elsewhere, then the first post 1776 colony to break free and then serve as a model for independence from London for those colonies seeking independence. (See casahistoria Ireland site)

Finally, my edition has an interesting personal essay (An Imperial Childhood") as an appendix, and if the author ever reads this then let me say that yes, I have similar recollections and am of a similar age. But on the other hand, I am a historian too.......
Zavevidi
I bought this book as it was recommended as part of my degree course. It is a very brief book that won't take but a few good days read to be honest, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and feel I should recommend it if you are interested in the British Empire.

Cannadine's contention is that, rather than being based on particularly racial terms, the British Empire was based on a system of class. He writes that the elites of the British wanted to export the British class system to the rest of Britain's far-flung empire. So, a raja or nawab of India, although being dark-skinned, and perhaps being seen by some racists as inferior, in the author's argument were actually placed on the same footing as the white British elite. The British of course thought somehow, that the social order they found in India was like Britain's social order, a natural ordering of things, and they also believed that order in the world already reflected the British social order and the class system.

What is interesting about this book is that the author mentions that some British people went around the world to replicate the British class system, whilst others, no surprise here I think, were going to the colonies to get away from the class system.

So, the empire the British wanted, or some British people, perhaps was never fully realised and I think that is a good thing. Also, as a student of this, it seems to me that democracy in the 20th century was shaped in part by a reaction against the frankly pompous, stuffy and snobby social ideals of a self-serving elite.

It is then, a brief but quite interesting book, even if it does leave out the question of racism in the British Empire.
Ornamentalism : How the British Saw Their Empire download epub
Europe
Author: David Cannadine
ISBN: 0140297618
Category: History
Subcategory: Europe
Language: English
Publisher: Gardners Books (January 31, 2002)
Pages: 288 pages