The Return of Englishness in British Political Culture -- The End of the Unions?
Journal of Common Market Studies
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This article approaches the interpretation of elite and popular attitudes towards the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union through analysis of some of the rival perspectives on the national identity of the English that have become increasingly salient during the last two decades. It highlights their role as sources of some of the most influential ideas about nationhood, governance and state now shaping public discourse on the UK's membership of the EU. These include radical-democratic, restorationist and Anglo-British forms of patriotic discourse, which have prompted and responded to the growing prevalence of England as ‘an imagined community’ – a trend which has rendered other circles of attachment to the UK and Europe more tenuous and distant. A central conclusion of the article is that these emerging perspectives have spawned webs of belief that connect new and old ideas of nationhood to the political judgements that different actors are making about the EU