Visions of empire

Patriotism, popular culture and the city, 1870-1939

By Brad Beaven

Visions of empire

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0669-8
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.99
  • Published Date: January 2017
  • BIC Category: United Kingdom, Great Britain, European history, Colonialism & imperialism, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Society & social sciences / Popular culture, Modern History, History
  • Series: Studies in Imperialism


The emergence of a vibrant imperial culture in British society from the 1890s both fascinated and appalled contemporaries. It has also consistently provoked controversy among historians.

This book offers a ground-breaking perspective on how imperial culture was disseminated. It identifies the important synergies that grew between a new civic culture and the wider imperial project.

Beaven shows that the ebb and flow of imperial enthusiasm was shaped through a fusion of local patriotism and a broader imperial identity. Imperial culture was neither generic nor unimportant but was instead multi-layered and recast to capture the concerns of a locality. The book draws on a rich seam of primary sources from three representative English cities. These case studies are considered against an extensive analysis of seminal and current historiography. This renders the book invaluable to those interested in the fields of imperialism, social and cultural history, popular culture, historical geography and urban history.


Visions of Empire is a welcome addition to
the debate about British cultural imperialism.
With the advent of 'the global', paying heed
to 'the local' can add much to historical
understanding. A new history of empire is
developing which highlights the ambiguity
and elasticity of popular imperialism. Beaven's
work advances this and presents a
serious challenge to recent national and transnational
studies of the cultural dispersal of
imperial ideas.


General Editor's introduction
1. Cities in context: Civic culture, new journalism and the creation of local and imperial identities, 1870-1939
2. The city and the imperial mission 1850-1914
3. Civic ceremony and the citizen-soldier during the Boer War, 1899-1902
4. fragmenting communities: Patriotism, empire and the First World War
5. Educating the future citizens of empire: Working-class schooling c. 1870-1939
6. Transmitting the imperial message: Empire Day and the 1924 Wembley Exhibition
7. Mass entertainment, popular culture and imperial societies, 1870-1939
Appendix 1: Principal newspapers in Portsmouth, Coventry and Leeds c. 1800 to 1940'
Appendix 2: A sample of theatre, music hall and cinema entertainment in Portsmouth, Coventry and Leeds 1870-1939


Brad Beaven is Principal Lecturer in History at the University of Portsmouth

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