Document Type

Article

Version

Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Journal of American Studies

Volume

51

Issue

1

First Page

183

Last Page

204

Publication Date

2-2017

Abstract

In the late 1950s and early 1960s a number of British “scholarship boys” traveled to America sponsored by British and American foundations. Their experiences in the United States qualify and complicate existing narratives about upwardly mobile meritocrats. First, Americans regarded these figures in a manner that helped alter their view of themselves. Distinctions that mattered in Britain became less significant in America, though scholarship boys remained shrewd enough to penetrate the veneer of a superficial egalitarianism. National identity became a marker that sidelined residual anxieties about social hierarchy. Second, American prosperity affected the bias against consumerism shared by many British intellectuals during the mid-twentieth century. As professionals supported by government or educational institutions, these visitors differentiated themselves from those in the private sector, which pursued other goals. America exposed scholarship boys to a system that assimilated consumerism without sacrificing professionalism and a commitment to social progress.

Comments

© Cambridge University Press and British Association for American Studies 2016

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021875815002698

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