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Travelling the Empire The “School Empire Tours” and their significance for conceptual understandings (1927‐1939)

Travelling the Empire The “School Empire Tours” and their significance for conceptual... Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide fresh insights into the meaning and experience of an imperial education and the evolving concept of empire itself in Britain during the inter‐war years. At this time, in imperially‐minded circles, the desire to preserve the cultural and political unity of the Empire was, in part, channelled into forging lasting bonds of brotherhood amongst Empire youth through education. To this end, a host of Empire‐oriented societies launched a variety of travel and exchange programmes designed to educate British youth in the importance of their imperial inheritance. Among these was the School Empire Tours (SETs; 1927‐39), a voluntary organisation led by prominent figures in government and education, which, over the course of 12 years, was responsible for the expeditions of more than 500 public schoolboys to the far flung corners of the Empire. Design/methodology/approach – A contextualist methodology is employed throughout to produce a nuanced description of the concept of Empire as found within the archive, to assess the contribution made by the SETs to contemporary understandings of Empire and therein identify the significance of the organisation in the thought and practice of education across time. Findings – A discursive change is highlighted through the subtle re‐conceptualisation of Empire as a progressive and modernising force and the evolving perceptions of the tourists themselves. Moreover, the SETs appear as a microcosm of the problematic co‐existence of democratic tradition and imperial practice during a period of intense social and political flux. Originality/value – A new light is cast on the competing ideologies of imperialism and brotherhood, offering a unique perspective on the role of gender, class and race in imperial education at this time. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Travelling the Empire The “School Empire Tours” and their significance for conceptual understandings (1927‐1939)

History of Education Review , Volume 40 (1): 15 – Jun 24, 2011

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691111140820
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide fresh insights into the meaning and experience of an imperial education and the evolving concept of empire itself in Britain during the inter‐war years. At this time, in imperially‐minded circles, the desire to preserve the cultural and political unity of the Empire was, in part, channelled into forging lasting bonds of brotherhood amongst Empire youth through education. To this end, a host of Empire‐oriented societies launched a variety of travel and exchange programmes designed to educate British youth in the importance of their imperial inheritance. Among these was the School Empire Tours (SETs; 1927‐39), a voluntary organisation led by prominent figures in government and education, which, over the course of 12 years, was responsible for the expeditions of more than 500 public schoolboys to the far flung corners of the Empire. Design/methodology/approach – A contextualist methodology is employed throughout to produce a nuanced description of the concept of Empire as found within the archive, to assess the contribution made by the SETs to contemporary understandings of Empire and therein identify the significance of the organisation in the thought and practice of education across time. Findings – A discursive change is highlighted through the subtle re‐conceptualisation of Empire as a progressive and modernising force and the evolving perceptions of the tourists themselves. Moreover, the SETs appear as a microcosm of the problematic co‐existence of democratic tradition and imperial practice during a period of intense social and political flux. Originality/value – A new light is cast on the competing ideologies of imperialism and brotherhood, offering a unique perspective on the role of gender, class and race in imperial education at this time.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 24, 2011

Keywords: Empire; Empire education; Class; Gender; Public schools; Travel; Social class; United Kingdom

References