This article offers a thematic analysis of the performance of grandeur and the workings of the domestic domain in the Durham mission, framed by literatures on manners, morals, and symbolic politics. During his governor-generalship, Lord Durham brought a regal grandeur to bear on British North American politics that was sustained by a large entourage and performed at dinners, balls, banquets, receptions, and through public addresses, as well as in Durham's own domestic circle. In his relations with colonists, Durham frequently adopted a strategy of comportment - condescension - available only to the great. This same strategy appeared in the analyses of colonial cultural and political conditions that were offered by him and by members of his entourage. Drawing on the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, and taking up the emphasis on the importance of the domestic in post-colonial studies, the author seeks to elucidate some neglected aspects of the Durham Mission.

, , , ,
Canadian Historical Review
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Curtis, B. (2008). The 'most splendid pageant ever seen': Grandeur, the domestic, and condescension in Lord Durham's political theatre. Canadian Historical Review (Vol. 89, pp. 55–88). doi:10.3138/chr.89.1.55