in British civic society at the end of empire
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For most of the people discussed in this book decolonisation did not represent a crisis. This conclusion explains that for participants in middle-class associational life, the literal shrinking of Britain’s empire was not inherently more important than the figurative shrinking of a world brought together by the forces of globalisation. The geopolitical interconnectedness that followed the Second World War, in conjunction with the expansion of international mobility in the 1950s and 1960s, produced a sense of global closeness that was at least as important as decolonisation in determining associational forms of international engagement. These two processes were interrelated and interacting; each contributed to a dynamic of anxiety and optimism that shaped ideas about civic responsibility in this period. Participants in associational life called upon experiences from the recent imperial past to mitigate anxieties about the globalising present while simultaneously using the increased opportunities for international communication and collaboration represented by the globalising present to mitigate anxieties about the loss of empire. At the heart of this dynamic was the idea of a benevolent global role.

British civic society at the end of empire

Decolonisation, Globalisation, and International Responsibility


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