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Austerity, abundance and race in post-war visual culture

interesting trajectories and conversations around foreignness. Though the connection between the material abundance of Bratby’s so-called tabletop paintings – of which Jean and Still Life in Front of Window ( Figure 4.1 ) is a notable example – and the culture of austerity from which they emerged may seem obvious, there are multiple ways in which the relationship between the visual

in Cultures of decolonisation
Transnational productions and practices, 1945–70
Editors: Ruth Craggs and Claire Wintle

What were the distinctive cultures of decolonisation that emerged in the years between 1945 and 1970, and what can they uncover about the complexities of the ‘end of empire’ as a process? Cultures of Decolonisation brings together visual, literary and material cultures within one volume in order to explore this question. The volume reveals the diverse ways in which cultures were active in wider political, economic and social change, working as crucial gauges, microcosms, and agents of decolonisation.

Individual chapters focus on architecture, theatre, museums, heritage sites, fine art, and interior design alongside institutions such as artists’ groups, language agencies and the Royal Mint in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Europe. Drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives, these contributions offer revealing case studies for those researching decolonisation at all levels across the humanities and social sciences.

The collection demonstrates the transnational character of cultures of decolonisation (and of decolonisation itself), and illustrates the value of comparison – between different sorts of cultural forms and different places – in understanding the nature of this dramatic and wide-reaching geopolitical change. Cultures of Decolonisation illustrates the value of engaging with the complexities of decolonisation as enacted and experienced by a broad range of actors beyond ‘flag independence’ and the realm of high politics. In the process it makes an important contribution to the theoretical, methodological and empirical diversification of the historiography of the end of empire.

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Postcolonial hangovers

Hong Kong’s ‘golden age’ a compelling reason for democrats to wave the colonial flag. 8 There was more than a little irony, moreover, in using the colonial flag in support of democracy and ‘Hongkongian’ identity, especially to the extent that economic grievances blended with political ones; Britain’s own democracy had produced, after 2010, an austerity budget featuring social security cutbacks, high

in Hong Kong and British culture, 1945–97

pleasure, and austerity, to both of which the body is central. His uncertainty about his body, his responses to his emergent sexuality, are also about his concupiscence in relation to the body of the racial other. Prominent in the story are a number of his interactions with young coloured boys (that these are isolated incidents in a culture of segregation is made clear when Coetzee writes of John: ‘Josiah was the fourth native he had known in his life’). In one of these, he sees a young coloured boy ‘wearing pants so short that

in Rethinking settler colonialism

cram more work into his day. He stringently ‘regulated the hours of his life in accordance with his occupations’, sleeping and eating ‘with austerity, and only when he was compelled to do so out of necessity’. 19 Whilst scientific suffering was most readily associated with the perils of fieldwork, it did not end there. On the contrary, it also encompassed the equally gruelling aspects of research

in Conquering nature in Spain and its empire, 1750–1850
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government’s failure to control the cost of living. Inflation was very high (around 20 per cent) and constituted a major obstacle to the government’s attempt to increase defence spending in preparation for World War Three. And although Australia suffered far less than Britain from post-war austerity, its post-war affluence did not begin in earnest until the mid 1950s. Labor also argued that a ban would merely drive communism underground, that the only lasting answer lay in an improvement in living and working conditions, so

in Labour and the politics of Empire
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The 1940s

‘state socialism’. In the face of growing evidence that the public was, at best, lukewarm towards further nationalisation, the Labour Party’s emphasis from 1947 onwards shifted from more ‘socialism’ to the ‘consolidation’ of its early post-war ‘planning’ and ‘reforming’ achievements. 32 It was by no means all plain sailing for Labour. In the 1947 local elections the Conservatives registered a decisive victory, and there was growing discontent around continuing austerity, government-imposed controls and restrictions and

in Labour and the politics of Empire
Late twentieth-century British emigration and global identities – the end of the ‘British World’?

course, the first time that political values drove migration decisions. Similar sentiments were evident, for example, in the deep ideological disillusion expressed by many post-war British emigrants with the austerity of the decade of rationing and shortage after 1945, which could impel them to leave, often with strong antipathy to Britain. 3 In Adam’s case his Brunei sojourn extended from two

in Empire, migration and identity in the British world
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The Scottish military tradition in decline

immutable in cultural terms. Not so for the British Treasury, in the post-war climate of austerity, seeking economies in defence expenditure, nor for the Ministry of Defence seeking to modernise the infantry structure and anticipate future roles for the army. In the Indian subcontinent itself, as independence approached, there was a Scottish complement in the garrison

in Scotland, empire and decolonisation in the twentieth century
The forging of European temporal identities

time; in terms of financial loss and divine profit: for time was a sacred trust from God – and God, Thomas Gisborne wrote, ‘expects his own with usury’. 59 The nineteenth-century fusion between the temporal materialism of capitalism and the temporal austerity of Protestant evangelicalism produced a distinctly obsessive culture of time. E. P. Thompson alluded to the nature of this merger when he wrote

in The colonisation of time