Engineering men: masculinity, the Royal Navy, and the Selborne scheme

Dodd, Edward (2015) Engineering men: masculinity, the Royal Navy, and the Selborne scheme. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis uses R.W. Connell’s hegemonic masculinity to critically examine the “Selborne Scheme” of 1902, specifically the changes made to naval engineers in relation to the executive officers of the late-Victorian and Edwardian Royal Navy. Unlike the few historians who have studied the scheme, my research attends to the role of masculinity, and the closely-related social structures of class and race, in the decisions made by Lord Selborne and Admiral John Fisher. I suggest that the reform scheme was heavily influenced by a “cultural imaginary of British masculinity” created in novels, newspapers, and Parliamentary discourse, especially by discontented naval engineers who wanted greater authority and respect within the Royal Navy. The goal of the scheme was to ensure that men commanding the navy were considered to have legitimate authority first and foremost because they were the “best” of British manhood. This goal required the navy to come to terms with rapidly changing naval technology, a renewed emphasis on the importance of the role of the navy in Britain’s empire, and the increasing numbers of non-white seamen in the British merchant marine.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 9795
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 106-114).
Keywords: Masculinity, Royal Navy, Edwardian, Victorian, Naval Engineers, Selborne Scheme, cultural imaginary, British Empire
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: October 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Marine engineers--History--19th century; Masculinity--History--19th century; Connell, Raewyn, 1944-.--Criticism and interpretation; Great Britain--Social conditions--19th century

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