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Reference: Mizutani, Satoshi, (2004). The British in India and their domiciled brethren. DPhil. University of Oxford.Citable link to this page:


The British in India and their domiciled brethren Subtitle: Race and class in the colonial context, 1858-1930

Abstract: ´╗┐This DPhil dissertation aims to delineate an ambivalent construction of 'Britishness'in late British India by paying special attention to certain discourses and practicesthat regulated the lives of both colonial elites and of their impoverished and/orracially mixed kin. Peculiar racial self-anxieties of the colonial ruling classes, -namely those over hygienic / sexual degradation and cultural hybridisation, theincreased presence of indigent and/or racially mixed white populations, and theundesired consequences of the last - are examined thorough a close and analyticallycoherent analysis of colonial representations and practices.An important feature of this research is to bring the internal-cum-classdistinctions of metropolitan society to the fore in order to circumscribe a peculiarlyclass-specific constitution of British racial identity in the colonial context. Broadlyspeaking, in two related senses can the (re)production of white racial prestige in theBritish Raj be regarded as a class-conditioned phenomenon. First of all, colonialBritishness can be said to have been characterised by class because not all persons orgroups of British descent living in the colony were recognised as 'Europeanenough': only those from the upper or middle classes were considered as so'European' as to be capable of ruling the 'subject races' of India. The remainingpeople of British racial origins, including the so-called 'poor whites', the 'domiciledEuropeans' (those whites permanently settled in India), and the mixed-decent'Eurasians', were not regarded as 'British enough' (although they were not seen as'Indian', either). Especially, 'domiciled Europeans' and 'Eurasians', oftencollectively referred to as 'the domiciled class', were not treated as 'British' but onlyas 'Native' in socio-legal terms: the 'domiciled' differed from 'Indians' in terms ofracial and cultural identification, but were supposed to be no higher than the latter byconstitutional status and socio-economic standard.Secondly it was because of its recourse to 'bourgeois philanthropy' thatthe construction of Britishness in late British India may be said to have been boundby aspects of Victorian or Edwardian class culture. Although the British excludedtheir domiciled brethren from the sphere of their social and economic privileges, theformer also 'included' the latter within limited frames of philanthropic andeducational care. For, their exclusion from the elite white communitynotwithstanding, the domiciled were still regarded as one part of the European (asopposed to Indian) body politic. Thus the colonial authorities feared that anunregulated destitution of 'poor whites', domiciled Europeans, and Eurasians mightpresent itself as a political menace to the prestige of the British race as a whole: ina sense, the authority of Britishness also depended on how 'European pauperism'could be solved before it had disorderly effects on the colonial hierarchies of raceand class. It was in this context that the philanthropic management of pauperismemerged as a negative but no less unimportant measure for reproducing Britishprestige in the colonial context. And central to this was a specific, colonialapplication of a politics of class that the bourgeoisie played against the indigent andvarious 'unfit' populations in the metropole.

Type of Award:DPhil Level of Award:Doctoral Awarding Institution: University of Oxford Notes:The digital copy of this thesis has been made available thanks to the generosity of Dr Leonard Polonsky


Dr David WashbrookMore by this contributor


 Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 2004Identifiers

Urn: uuid:fa01ca84-a9e5-432d-bb51-4091416be26c

Source identifier: 602336434 Item Description

Type: Thesis;

Language: eng Subjects: India Great Britain British occupation, 1765-1947 British Class consciousness History Group identity National characteristics, British Racism Great Britain Tiny URL: td:602336434


Author: Mizutani, Satoshi - institutionUniversity of Oxford institutionSt. Antony's College University of Oxford facultyHumanities Di



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