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Philipp Horstmeier

  • Dissertation


    One of the most important foundations of imperial rule are bureaucracy and administration. In the context of the British Empire, the Indian Civil Service (ICS), also referred to by Premier Lloyd George as the “Steel frame”, is often ascribed a key role model, not only for rule over India but also for other colonies. Contrasting that image, the ICS was not a monolith, but was constantly faced with challenges to its power, whether of social or natural origin. How the ICS performed in the face of such challenges, whether it adapted or remained rigid, is to be examined in this project. Various crisis points and threats to the stability of the British Empire are used to exemplify the challenges the administration faced. By exploring various angles of insecurity, such as attempts to reform the colonial society on the one hand, or the threat of epidemics, natural disasters, or anti-colonial agitation from abroad, on the other. In doing this, not only the British members of the ICS but also their Indian counterparts, who from 1864 were represented in ever increasing numbers, will be considered. The perceptions of the crisis points and dangers of the Indian and British subjects are to be compared to provide new insights into the bureaucracy and administration of the British Empire.