British civic society at the end of empire

Decolonisation, Globalisation, and International Responsibility

This book is about the impact of decolonisation on British society in the 1960s. It moves away from the traditional focus on cultural, media, and governmental archives to analyse public agency and civic forms of engagement with the declining empire. Through a close examination of middle-class associational life it broadens our understanding of who had a stake in decolonisation while also revealing the optimism and enthusiasm with which members of the British public developed visions for a post-imperial global role. By studying a wide range of associational organisations this book shows that globalisation and decolonisation opened up new opportunities for international engagement for middle-aged members of middle-class society. In the 1960s for many participants in associational life it became a civic duty to engage, understand, and intervene to help the shrinking world in which they lived. This book uncovers how associations and organisations acted on this sense of duty, developing projects that promoted friendship and hospitality as the foundations of world peace, visions for secular and religious forms of humanitarianism that encouraged relationships of both sympathy and solidarity with those in the global South, and plans to increase international understanding through educative activities. This book will be useful to scholars of modern British history, particularly those with interests in empire, internationalism, and civil society. The book is also designed to be accessible to undergraduates studying these areas.

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