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Exporting empireAfrica, colonial officials and the construction of the British imperial state, c.1900−39$
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Christopher Prior

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719083686

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719083686.001.0001

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Individualism, intrigue and esprit de corps

Individualism, intrigue and esprit de corps

(p.63) Chapter Three Individualism, intrigue and esprit de corps
Exporting empire

Christopher Prior

Manchester University Press

This chapter will argue that, in contrast with the usual argument that officials worked effectively alongside one another, bound by fraternal sentiments fostered in large part by the public school system, the colonial services of Africa were in fact riven with tensions along a number of axes, including age and different approaches to governance. Most significant of these, however, was officials' ongoing search for individualistic self-fulfillment untrammelled by the endeavours and attitudes of others. Whilst many recognised that socialising was essential to their morale, many officials simultaneously resented the constraints that being a member of a small, inward-looking, and gossip-driven European community placed upon them. Public schools therefore failed in their efforts to inculcate all with a sense of an esprit de corps amongst Britain's overseas officials.

Keywords:   Esprit de corps, Individualism, Gossip, Socialising, Snobbery

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