British Prestige and Fears of Colonial Degeneration
This chapter discusses the ‘imperial politics of whiteness’ in relation to both the politico-economic characteristics of British rule and the life-worlds of white bourgeois families. These two were mutually inseparable because the quotidian lives of Britons—how, where, and with whom they lived, as well as how and where they reared their children—were of central importance to the definition and social reproduction of British racial prestige, upon which the legitimacy of the Raj ultimately depended. Among the most important sources for the discussions here are the Reports of the Select Committee on Colonization and Settlement (1858–59), which contain official debates on these questions. A range of journal and newspaper articles, as well as medical books and manuals, are also examined.
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