Handbook of Research on Management and Organizational History
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Handbook of Research on Management and Organizational History

Edited by Kyle Bruce

Emerging from what was a somewhat staid sub-discipline, there is currently a battle for the soul of Management and Organizational History (MOH), at the centre of which is a widespread concern that much recent work has been more about how one should or might do history rather than actually doing historical work. If ever there was a time for a new volume on MOH, this is certainly it.
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Chapter 11: The commercial practices of the crown and the state: locating British trade with, and commercial imperialism in, Africa, in the geopolitics of Europe

Nelarine Cornelius and Eric Pezet


This chapter explores the antecedents to colonization and empire, central to the story of Britain’s relationship with Africa from the first century to the mid-twentieth century. The earliest relationships with Africa emerge from encounters between the British Isles and the foreign powers that invaded them: the Romans, Vikings and Normans. Further, how these foreign powers (as crown/state) administered the British Isles had an enduring influence on the character of British venturing and colonizastion. Moreover, on-going rivalries with European nations further shaped Britain’s crown/state policy towards trade, then imperialism, in Africa. Commercial venturing, and eventually military expedition-based venturing companies, were key to the Britain’s economic colonial and economic presence in Africa. We therefore explore the role of crown/state sponsorship of merchants and venturers. This evolution and dynamics of encounters between Britain and Africa can be captured theoretically through Michel Foucault’s concept of the heterotopia. As a final counter point to the often positive mid-twentieth accounts of the legacies of colonialism, the losses, from the perspective of Africans, is understood through Amartya Sen’s historical analysis of the contemporaneous and enduring negative impacts of colonialism.

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