MacKenzie-ites Without Borders: Or How a Set of Concepts, Ideas, and Methods Went Global
Whilst John MacKenzie’s work arose out of the study of the British Empire, the intellectual framework which he developed through Propaganda and Empire (1984) and its sequels received a global reception. Many historians of former European imperial powers started to test the concept of ‘popular imperialism’ in non-British contexts. Well before European Empires and the People (2009), MacKenzie’s work had inspired scholars of other European empires to look for the legacy of the colonies in metropolitan cultures. As this unearthing of hitherto-ignored evidence was taking place, it became increasingly evident that the colonial experience had contributed to shape national identities, especially since the New Imperialism coincided with the development of nation states around Europe. This chapter examines the multiple echoes around the world of John MacKenzie’s work on the popular cultures of empire. Beyond these historiographical considerations, the chapter will also demonstrate how the success of John MacKenzie’s ideas reflected broader social and political changes across Europe, echoing the increasing defiance inspired by Eurocentrism.