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Schizophrenic governance and fostering global inequalities in the British Empire: the UK domestic state versus the Indian and African colonies, 1890-1960

Subrahmanyam, Gita (2004) Schizophrenic governance and fostering global inequalities in the British Empire: the UK domestic state versus the Indian and African colonies, 1890-1960. In: American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, 2004-09-02, Chicago, United States, USA. (Submitted)

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It has long been acknowledged that the British Empire played a role in fostering global inequalities. However, the extent to which the Empire was characterised by deeply contrasting administrative arrangements and developmental goals between the domestic state and the non-white colonies has not been fully explored. In this paper, I analyse institutional structures and budgetary data pertaining to the UK, India and three African colonies (Nigeria, Kenya and Tanganyika) between 1890 and 1960. The results of the analysis highlight a few major trends. First, while UK domestic politics became more inclusive over the seventy years, with new groups being granted full citizenship rights, in Britain’s non-white colonies political participation rights remained restrictive until very late in the period. This was especially the case in British Africa, where the basis of Crown rule was autocracy rather than representative government and where Africans were excluded from substantive participation in central government bodies until the 1950s. Africans were not adequately prepared for self-government and independence, which affected their country’s global position post-independence. Second, whereas in the UK government spending on welfare expanded substantially between 1890 and 1960, in Britain’s Indian and African colonies public outlays on social development were both non-growing and scant relative to other programmes of the state. Until after the Second World War, Indian and African public expenditures were concentrated in the agencies of control – that is, military, law and order, general administration, and transportation infrastructure. The British contention of having developed the colonies beyond the military and commercial requirements demanded of any imperial power appears unsupported by the budget analysis. Because the British Empire pursued schizophrenic goals – one set for the domestic arena and another for the non-white colonies – it fostered inequalities between the two sectors during the colonial era. The legacy of those policies has extended beyond the Empire itself.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2004 American Political Science Association
Divisions: Public Policy Group
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2010 16:33
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 10:59

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