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Appears in Collections:History and Politics eTheses
Title: Authority and identity: Malawian soldiers in Britain's colonial army, 1891-1964
Author(s): Lovering, Timothy J. (Timothy John)
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the experience of Malawian soldiers serving in Britain's colonial army between 1891 and 1964. Until recently, the experience of East African colonial soldiers in particular has been largely overlooked, and African soldiers in general have been perceived either as collaborators in the machinery of colonial oppression or, conversely, as victims at the hands of the military authorities. However, little attempt has been made to unify these two views of military service. Using Malawi as a case study, this thesis investigates social relations within the colonial army and examines perceptions of their often-violent role within wider colonial society. Developing and expanding upon previous scholarship, this thesis provides the first sustained and unified study of the colonial army in Malawi. The project is based principally upon archival sources in Britain and Malawi, but also draws upon interviews with British and Malawian veterans. Chapter one provides an overview of the institutional history of the Malawian forces. Chapter two outlines the development of recruitment policy, with special reference to the concept of `martial races', and examines the motivations behind Malawian enlistment. Chapters three and four investigate the reactions of African soldiers to the formal military environment and to barrack life. Chapter five examines perceptions of soldiers' roles in warfare and internal security, and contrasts this with the place of soldiers in their own communities. The thesis highlights the extent to which Malawian soldiers were successfully co-opted by the military authorities, but also stresses the capacity of soldiers to influence the conditions under which they served. This, combined with the unusually long association which many Malawians had with the army, fed into a growing perception of the colonial army as a Malawian institution.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Arts and Humanities
History and Politics

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