Fearing for the Empire
Male youth, work and leisure, 1870–1914
in Leisure, citizenship and working-class men in Britain, 1850–1945
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The behaviour of male youths in both work and leisure has troubled the minds of social observers from time immemorial. This chapter explores contemporary anxieties that revolved around the youth and citizenry in modern society and the key youth movements formed to alleviate the 'crisis'. Inspired by Charles Booth's survey on the London's poor, a whole host of reports focused on the development of the male youth's work and leisure activities. C. E. B. Russell's textbook was also a hostile response to new forms of youth organisation such as the Scouts, declaring that their movement was 'showy' and unable to train youths for good citizenship. Initiatives to civilise youths by offering 'elevating' leisure clubs gave way to more disciplined and military-inspired youth movements. These movements were intent on instilling a sense of duty, patriotism and masculinity into youths which would help save the British Empire from impending doom.


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