Morale asks how is it that modern Britons have come to regard morale as a category of conduct, vital for the success of collective effort in war and peace, and a mark of good, modern, and human managerial practice, appropriate for a democratic age? This book tells the intellectual, cultural, and institutional history of morale in modern imperial Britain: its emergence as a new concept during the long nineteenth century, its changing meanings and significations, and the social and political goals those who discussed, observed, or managed morale sought to achieve. Using theoretical approaches and based on empirical research, the book's foremost originality is in the argument itself: that morale was formalized as a new military disciplinary problem during the long nineteenth century, and that during the era of the two world wars it permeated nearly every civilian sphere of life as a new way of managing human conduct.Morale traces how it gradually emerged from a problem that was regarded as residual at best to one that was seen as the epitome of proper managerial practice, its institutional manifestations and promotion by myriad organizations and the social-democratic state, and its emergence as a potent political concept from Britain's social-democratic moment until the ascendancy of the New Right. It is the first history of morale, in Britain or elsewhere.
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