According to Stein Rokkan, periphery is defined as a subordination of a certain group to a geographical centre authority or to the core upon which periphery depends on. It also has little control or power over its fate; therefore, it possesses less resources for defending its distinctiveness against the outside pressures (Webster, 2006). The key features of peripheries are dependence, difference, and distance that are considered to be three behavior domains: economic life, cultural standardization and making political decision. The concept of reminiscent and distinction between ethnicity and minority was described by Jeffery Ross. However, Ross describes the latter as a type of group controlling its own definition.
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Academically, the British Empire centre periphery model is challenged with different views. One of the views is that, despite of the pre-eminent at empires centre, Britain was changed by two-way wealth flows: political and information innovation from colonies. Additionally, the British Empire has been always seen as the overlapping, intersecting web or network of information and personnel, which flows in circuits between peripheries and metropole. Webster (2006), intimates that people are considered to be a very important component of emigrant’s waves that circulated between locations and corps of bureaucrats and officials, whose career was taken from one placement to the other. In the modern history, being one of the greatest imperial power in the world, Great Britain`s post imperial status was at once a basis of national contrition and pride, undergirding highly filled national identity whereby, a large commune of the immigrant communities continue constructing the identities with colonial past engagements (Webster, 2006). The British Empire is ironically post imperial nation, which provides the legacies of Britain’s expansive colonial reach in its midst. In the wake of waves on both decolonization throughout colonies and the subsequent, Britain immigration from peripheries of the empire, reconciling the social paradox with nation citizenry, will remain the most heated and pressing political issues that are facing the country today. The far stricter immigration policy towards a non-EU citizen that are primed, and coupled such that, overt and declarations that should be proud of the British Empire.
Resources and power struggle that take place between the periphery and centre may complicate matters further. The best example is devolution to the Northern Ireland, which resulted to enhancement of Belfast as a capital city that is placed in the UK’s periphery turning into stronger centre in Ireland. However, the sharp internal division’s existence between republicans and unionists added greater development complexity of Belfast and North Ireland. The British metropole periphery and relations were traditionally defined as the terms of separation with dictatorial communication channel; metropole also informed periphery, but there was no direct information from the metropole; thus, the British Empire constituted by formal territories control, foreign land direct rules and being instigated by metropole (Webster, 2006).
The relationship between the periphery and the core of the erstwhile British Empire during the free trade era in 1850-1880 were established because of development in terms of the hierarchy of power and wealth. The initiative of development has been given an upper hand in the intersection of the historical process of the three worlds. The developments` optimism was not evenly constant during the long boom after the war. By tracing the history of the framework of development and its connection to the destruction and creation of the third world, it is possible to come up with a survey of the plenty of powerful dynamics.
The periphery or the third world in itself consists of a variety of cultures and societies. Nevertheless, the evident homogenization and simplification consists the concept of the periphery, its coincidence to the first and the second world carried global inequality questions into the worldwide arena. As opposed to the static group of the core and the peripheral countries, development opt to be a process with dynamic of transition to all. According to the history and logic, development and the core presume the currency of the periphery and underdevelopment. This unequal integration of the Capital Empire was brought about by overseas expansion of the Europeans during the 16th and 20th centuries. As a result, the world system produced the spatial milieu for the forces produced during these centuries individually aggravated capitalist consolidation and multifaceted economic and social distortion, currently termed as underdevelopment.
The status of Britain as the ‘world`s workshop’ and the ‘premier naval power’ instated of the imperial free trade era had given room for it to be seen as a free trade guardian. The gold standard imposition as the backbone of a liberalized trade of the world subordinated the policy of mercantilists to stability of currency, making states embrace the world’s commerce exigencies by use of budgetary priorities. The system of laissez-faire continued to be hegemonic during the century, thus getting a theoretical support during the 18th century by Adam Smith’s writings.
However, the core continued to maintain its dominance over the periphery. The core countries imported cheap labor from the periphery. They also import raw materials, manufactures them using the imported labor from the peripheral countries and again sell them back to the periphery at high prices. This way, the core continues to maintain its dominance over the peripheral countries. In most cases, the periphery continues to depend on the core for expensive industrial products. In the peripheral countries, development of their economy was low, and prosperity continued to remain an inaccessible delusion (Washbrook, 1999). As much as the common history of grand supremacy and the search, which was shared for a way of third party, provided some necessities for mutual accomplishment, the periphery became polarized by the Cold War. During this period, the core used coercive force to counter popular movements within their particular areas of manipulation, varying from complete invasion to a military coup sponsorship and stipulation of support for atrocious autocracy. While global independence had brought forth an opportunity for group mobilization, there was an occurrence of closure repeatedly as parasitic military and layers that are autocratic and short-circuited the first phase of autonomous effervesce. The states that are newly independent projected to encourage development and equality were currently interjected to shield privileges that are well customary and erstwhile dominance relationship. During the 18th century, development and national emancipation fired the mind of many people in the periphery. The unstructured operation of the forces of the market continues to produce wealth in one place. On the other hand, poverty encourages inequality in the economy between the main world zones.
The role of communication and transport technologies in the creation and maintenance of relationships in the British Empire had both success and failure. The success and the failure of the British Empire primarily depended on how effective its communication was with other states. Communication was the only channel that could be used to establish and maintain relationships with other states. Effective communication played the important role of facilitating organization of communities into units, administration and trade. The British used communication to organize their empires into units that could be effectively managed. These units helped in creating order within the Empire. Communication was important in trading activities. The British engaged in trade with other communities both in Asia and in Africa. Trade interactions necessitated the establishment of a good communication network. This ensured that its trade partners continued supplying them with trade commodities. Communication was used in trade to negotiate for prices of commodities.
To achieve effective control of the British Empire over third-world countries, effective communication was important. The British needed to ensure that communication was effective as this made it easy to implement its policies in its empires. Washbrook (1999) indicates that these policies had to be communicated to its empires to avoid rebellions and revolts. In the early stages, communication in the British Empire was not quite effective. With advancements in technology and development of the telegram machines, communication hitches were eased. The telegram was quick and more effective, hence making it easy to communicate from Britain to Africa. The British appointed representatives to represent their interest in the colonies and to ensure that communication was effective. The British ensured that communication was sufficient as this helped them to have total control of the empire. Administrative centers were established to facilitate communication. With time, these centers developed into towns.
Transport was another important factor for the British Empire to succeed. Movement within the empire was very important. Transport facilitated administration and trade. Administrators had to move from one place to another to communicate policies within the empire. Raw materials and trade commodities needed to be transported from the production areas to industries or to the consumers of the products. The railway mode of transport was developed on land, to transport raw materials to industries. Rail was used to transport large quantities of products. The steam ship was the main mode of transport on water. It ferried products by sea. This lead to development of ports where these ships could dock. The steam ship was an advancement from the dhow, which was used in the earlier years. The stem ship was much faster and carried a greater load than the dhow (Washbrook, 1999). Transport lead to the discovery of new locations that were not known before. The British explored these locations and exploited the resources they discovered. This was done particularly in Africa.
Transport also played an important role of facilitating the development of towns. Towns developed in areas where there were transport stations. These towns became centers for economic activities. Many towns developed along the railway station and served as trading centers. Numerous economic activities were conducted in these towns.
Both transport and communication were important factors for the British people. This helped to create and maintain networks and relationships within its empires. The development of advanced technology and communication channels made the relationships in the empire stronger. The two factors played a very important role in facilitating trading activities: development of towns and administration and implementation of policies. Time-to-time interactions and exchange between people within the British Empire cemented relationships. The British Empire was able to make great economic developments with improved technology in communication and the transport sector.
In conclusion, the British Empire`s periphery was controlled by the politics. It took years to change the developing nations. The paper gives us the historical overview of the British Empire centre periphery and explains its failures and achievements that improve our knowledge on the same. Transport and communication contributed significantly in the development of the erstwhile British Empire. The core countries maintained dominance over periphery as they continued importing cheap labor from the latter.
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