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The social, cultural, and political impact of the British Military Administration on Libya, 1943-1951

Madi, Yousef Mohamed Ali (2018) The social, cultural, and political impact of the British Military Administration on Libya, 1943-1951. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the impact of the British Military Administration (BMA) on social- cultural and political organisations in Libya during the period 1943 to 1951. The thesis is grounded on a careful reading of secondary literature which has been integrated into available official documents available in both Arabic and English archival sources, in addition to new oral data generated from interviews. Its main claim to originality lies in the light that these documents throw on our understanding of the BMA’s impact on civil society in Libya. The thesis adopts a case study approach focusing on specific themes to examine the BMA’s impact on education, the press (specifically newspapers), and social, cultural and political organisations in Libya. These are viewed as key areas of concern in developing states since according to the secondary literature, including press debates at the time and available archival documentation, these organisations awakened people’s interest in the right to self determination. It is argued that in addition to the major political and economic changes that took place in Libya during this period, it was also a time of revitalisation of social, cultural and intellectual activities, both within Libya itself and in its émigré communities in Egypt and Tunisia. The BMA was characterised by remarkable developments in education, and also saw unprecedented growth in the press and in cultural and voluntary organisations. These associations brought together groups of individuals to create civil society and provide the basis for the political organisations, which were later to evolve into Libya’s first fully fledged political parties. The transitional British administration succeeded in building a system that greatly improved access to education and educational standards for all throughout Libya, while at the same time creating an elite cadre of Libyans who would help administer the country. During British rule, the press also improved in both quality and quantity. The diverse range of publications in Arabic that emerged not only played an important role in covering Libya’s journey towards independence but also awakened interest in issues relating to national identity. The social, cultural and political associations that flourished, both at home and abroad, made a major contribution to promoting this national movement by helping to create and shape the coherence and consciousness of Libyans as a nation. The stability that the BMA brought to Libya facilitated the growth of these social and cultural organisations which in turn underpinned the establishment of the political parties that would eventually assume responsibility for running the newly independent Libya. The findings of the study show that the BMA in Libya enjoyed considerable success in shaping Libyans’ attitudes towards the value of education, press freedom and civil society and in preparing Libya for independence. When the British left, the Libyans they had trained demonstrated their abilities in the fields of education and administration. While the British inculcated a national consciousness in the Libyans, it was also clear that Arab nationalism and Pan-Arab unity were also viewed as attractive political alternatives.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Arts and Humanities > School of History, Welsh History and Archaeology
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 01 May 2018 09:00
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 09:00
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/10917
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