lisa monaghan

Mangan (1982). The Education of an Elite Imperial Administration: The Sudan Political Service and the British and the British Public School System


This paper is an analysis of the educational and social backgrounds of members of Sudan Political Service (1899-1956) – an imperial administrative corps d'eZite 1 which by the 1930s in the opinion of at least one, perhaps partial, observer "had become the true successor in merit to the I. C. S. [Indian Civil Service]."2 In particular the paper draws substantially on hitherto unpublished correspondence and interviews with some sixty formers members of the Sudan Political Service, many of whom generously wrote at length to the author. Their comments provide most valuable insights into the social background of later members of the Service, their various motives for joining, and perhaps most important of all, their own belief in the significance of the public school system of education in developing gubernatorial attitudes and skills. The paper has the following specific objectives: to discover just how far membership of this select imperial force was not only the prerogative of the public school system, but of certain schools within it; to assess the accuracy, as far as the Sudan is concerned, of Nicolson and Hughes's observation that the "best" public schools lost interest in imperial careers after the Great War,3 and as a corollary, to discover whether public school membership of the service progressively declined as interest in the Empire apparently lessened and as state schools increased in number and quality through hout the twentieth century; to investigate the extent of the truth of the frequently quoted and somewhat malicious axiom that the….

Category: Anthropology and History

Sub-category: International Assistance and Interventions