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David Cannadine
From Ornamentalism

I. Britons' perception of the social order of their empire flowed from their perceptions of their own domestic social order
A. Traditional view
1. Perceived domestic social order as dynamic, individualistic, egalitarian, and modernizing.
2. So they perceived society in their empire as enervated, hierarchical, corporatist, and backward, and so inferior
C. Cannadine argues that the traditional view is incorrect
1. Britons saw themselves as part of an unequal society, hierarchical, loaded with precedent and tradition, and religion.
a. This provided the starting point for Britons' thinking about the empire.
b. They tended to view the empire, as they did England, as an inter-connected whole, not a set of oppositions.
c. So we need to be more careful to see the variations in the way Britons viewed their empire and its hierarchy
- we should understand the ways that they saw it in racial terms
- we should understand it through the "metropole-periphery" analogy.
--The British empire has been studied as a complex racial hierarchy, but less as a complex social hierarchy.