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Showing posts from April, 2012

Logics of Familial Solidarity: Structural Functionalism and the Individualization thesis.

In contemporary Western societies, since the mid to late 20th century, there have been considerable debates around the status of the family, its perceived decline or transformation into a new historical form. Talcott Parsons’ original formulation of the nuclear family has fallen out of fashion, outmoded by contemporary social trends and criticised for teleological biases that preference one model of family and designate all other forms as deviant and dysfunctional. Ulrich Beck and Elizabeth Beck-Gernsheim have put forth their “‘individualization thesis”’ to explain shifts in contemporary society and the institution of the ‘family’ that elevate individuals to the forefront of discussion. The individualization thesis has been widely discussed and misunderstood. Jennifer Mason criticised the individuation thesis on the basis that it “creates a sense of individuals floating free of family ties and commitments”. However, Beck-Gernsheim has stressed that individualization: “does not …

The Chomsky-Foucault Debate.

Guitar on Wall.

Migration and the British Empire: an Empire of White Settlement, an Empire of The Conquered.

The role and importance of migration within the British Empire throughout the 19th century cannot be overstated.Migration during this period fell into two major categories: white settlement and tropical migration.Emigration from the British Isles sustained and powered the expansion of settler colonies, from Canada to Australia and New Zealand.Whilst, tropical migration allowed the Empire to maintain and expand its plantation colonies after the abolition of the slave trade in 1834. Both forms of migration informed British engagement with the world and helped to shape Imperial policy.In the Oxford History of the British Empire, Andrew Porter argued that the British Empire could be divided into three categories; the Empire of White Settlement, the Empire of India and the Empire of the Conquered.The category of Empire that a colony fell under determined the form of government that London imposed or accepted, somewhere between responsible self-government and autocracy, and these categories…

Colonial Administration in British Ceylon.

In the 1832 Report of the Colebrooke Commission, Mr. C.H. Cameron outlined his view that Ceylon represented: “the fittest spot in our Eastern Dominions in which to plant the germ of European Civilization”. Ceylon had been unified under British control between 1796 and 1815, and remained relatively stable throughout its occupation, bar the Kandyan rebellions of 1817-1818 and 1848. Unlike India and the rebellion of 1857, maintenance of British control of Ceylon did not pose a significant headache for the Colonial Office beyond the initial invasion of Kandy. The later instability of 1848 was quickly remedied and provided important lessons for the administration of Ceylon. However, the administrative apparatus of the Island was largely in place by the first decade of the 19th century and further reforms were carried on through the 1830s to the 1840s, remaining the purview of the Ceylon Civil Service throughout British Occupation. Though expanded in the late 1830s, the Ceylon Civil Servic…