This title foregrounds a capitalists vision of peace and progress which took hold of British society in 1851, emphasizing that this Victorian understanding of global order legitimized imperial ambition
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Gathering together industrial products from around the world, and placing them on view in Joseph Paxton's astonishing Crystal Palace, the Great Exhibition of 1851 was seen by many Victorian observers to have mapped out a new world order, one which would bring about universal freedom, peace and progress. By critically evaluating the Exhibition and the commentary it inspired, Globalization and the Great Exhibition argues that the display was a decisive moment in the formation of a capitalist world picture which became durably embedded in Victorian society, which was transmitted throughout the nineteenth-century world, and which continues to exert a strong hold over global politics and culture today. Central to the book is the contention that the display allowed commentators to position Britain as a world leader - in terms of liberal, cosmopolitan ideas, as well as industrial strength. Equally important, however, is the focus upon the way in which as it plotted globalization, theexhibition was also seen to legitimize British imperialism - and the coercion and violence this entailed.