Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India by Elizabeth Buettner

Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India

byElizabeth Buettner

Paperback | November 7, 2005

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While social and cultural historians of imperial India have enhanced our knowledge of how British men and women made their lives and careers in the Empire, the wider family practices that lay behind Britain's presence in India have received scant attention to date. 'Empire Families' bringsthese to the fore by focusing on child-rearing patterns and family experiences taking place on both British and Indian soil, as well as the life course these men and women took. Family conduct is significant in the class, racial, and cultural dimensions of the colonial community between the late nineteenth century and decolonization in 1947. What is more, it helps explain how, and why, so many families developed multi-generational histories in India without becomingpermanent settlers. Repeated travels between metropole and colony punctuated the life course: childhood overseas followed by separation from parents and education in Britain; adult returns to India through careers or marriage; furloughs, and ultimately retirement, in Britain. Transience andformative metropolitan experiences distinguished better-off Britons not only from the colonized but also from the social inferiors from their own diverse community, racially ambiguous 'domiciled Europeans', and Anglo-Indians. Yet 'coming home' simultaneously reinforced their awareness of culturaldifferences and alienation from British middle class society. Nostalgia for childhood and adult years in India was common among repatriates, and indeed finds private as well as public expression in Britain well into the post-colonial era. In this first study of family life in colonial India,Buettner highlights the social significance both of growing up in the raj and of the itinerant colonial lifestyle.

About The Author

Elizabeth Buettner is at Lecturer in History, University of York.
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Title:Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial IndiaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:324 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.76 inPublished:November 7, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199287651

ISBN - 13:9780199287659

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Making 'British-Indians': Children, Family Traditions of Indian Service, and Cycles of Migration1. Danger and Pleasure at the Bungalow: British Children at Home in India2. 'Not Quite Pukka': Schooling in India and the Aquisition of Racial Status3. Separations and the Discourse of Family Sacrifice4. Sent Home to School: British Education, Status, and Returns Overseas5. From Somebodies to Nobodies: Returning Home to Britain and Perpetuating Overseas ConnectionsConclusion: Plain Tales and Family Romances: Remembering the Raj in Post-colonial BritainBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`One very much hopes that further children of the Raj will now come forward, and that before committing their memories to posterity will consult Elizabeth Buettner's excellent book.'John Gardiner, History Today