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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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British Expansion, Empire, and Technological Change

British Expansion, Empire, and Technological Change

Chapter:
(p.247) 12 British Expansion, Empire, and Technological Change
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Robert Kubicek

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.003.0012

Technological changes, whatever their origins, have often been turned to imperial purposes. In line with this, this chapter argues that various technologies, especially when combined, enhanced the state's abilities to expand and dominate. They also affected the timing of the Imperial state's expansion, and featured significantly in the dynamics of commercial and industrial capitalism. In both the formal and informal British Empire, in temperate and tropical colonies, their transfer gave Imperial agents more scope for intervention. Technologies empowered the metropole but also, to some degree, strengthened the periphery. They also led diverse peoples to pursue the same material ends by employing similar techniques. Indigenous acquisition of expatriate tools might strengthen autonomy, but more often it paved the way for more pervasive alien influence. The intensified or ‘new’ imperialism has been seen as a product of a particular stage of finance capital, the rise of ethnic antagonisms fuelled by racist beliefs, and the geopolitical priorities of the ‘official mind’.

Keywords:   official mind, finance capital, technology, Imperial state expansion, capitalism, metropole, periphery, new imperialism

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