The Fighting Man and the Beginning of Professionalism : The East India Company Military Officer 1750–1800

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Historiska institutionen

Abstract: Earlier research has claimed that the British officer corps did not go through professionalization until the emergence of institutionalized education for military officers in the 19th century. This study argues that British officers in service of the East India Company in India showed signs of professionalization before 1800, contrary to earlier claims. The theoretical framework is composed in many respects by opposite roles of the officer, representing the pre-paradigm ideal of “the fighting man” and the post-paradigm role of the professional and bureaucrat. By processing letters, official documents and accounts on armed conflicts in India using digital methods, verbs performed by military officers have been extracted, categorized and analysed to find patterns in their actions. From these patterns conclusions have been drawn about the different roles of the officer, and how they relate to officers as fighting men as well as professionals. The results show that officers had roles regarding movement, employment, subordination, independence, non-military roles regarding military law and diplomacy, being gentlemen, advancement, skill and showed significant indications of the a priori roles of fighting men, bureaucrats and professionals.

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