LITTLE FRIENDS OF ALL THE WORLD?’ THE EXPERIENCES OF BRITISH DIPLOMATIC SERVICE CHILDREN 1945 – 1990
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This thesis is a historical reconstruction of the experiences of children born in to the British Diplomatic Service between 1945 and 1990. The first academic investigation of its kind, in a greatly under-documented area, it uses oral history testimony as its primary method of investigation. Source material was gathered by the author through interviews and correspondence with a sample of 23 former Diplomatic Service children born between 1942 and 1992. This evidence was compared with existing material which referred to Diplomatic Service children. This included the contents of Newsletters produced by the Foreign Service Wives Association, later the Diplomatic Service Wives’ Association, and twentieth-century memoirs by diplomats. The dominant themes suggested by interviewees and respondents formed the basis of the thesis’ four thematic chapters. These take as their subjects Separation, Transience, Identity and Home. A preceding Chapter which outlines internal Foreign Office policy towards children and families during the period under consideration provides background. The main questions considered were whether the findings shed light on existing stereotyped understandings of Foreign Office children, whether the participants’ experiences challenged historical narratives of childhood during the period and examined whether experiences differed according to gender. The richness and diversity of experiences recorded have made a multi-disciplinary approach necessary in order to provide a sufficiently structured framework for their interpretation.
AuthorsHiorns, Sara Anya
- Theses