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A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism

Authors: Spiering, M.

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About this book

Why are the British so Euro-sceptic? Forget about tedious treaties, party politics or international relations. The real reason is that the British do not feel European. This book explores and explains the cultural divide between Britain and Europe, where it comes from and how it manifests itself in everyday life and the academic world.

About the authors

Dr Menno Spiering is a literary historian and a co-founder of the programme of European Studies of the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He has lectured in the UK and US and has published widely on British and European identity.

Reviews

"A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism represents an important and original contribution to the literature. It unpacks the taken for granted terms on which much of the debate is premised: the idea that we can treat Britain and Europe as separate and opposed entities. This binary is shown to be culturally ingrained and reproduced in the form of essential differences. The book is organised in a way that takes the reader on a cultural journey of the fundamental tenets of Britishness (the Second World War, the Island Story, the Reformation, the Common Law etc.), demonstrating how the binary of Britain and Europe is culturally constituted and reproduced through these events and institutions, a fundamental facet of the stories that accompany them. It includes contemporary content such as Cameron's Bloomberg speech, evidencing the continuation of British Euroscepticism within the political culture.

Spiering demonstrates how an array of cultural products and narratives have been devoted to ensuring that the questionable distinction of Britain and Europe, its extra-Europeaness, is taken to be true. While the book is not theoretically heavy, a cultural structuralism informs the central theme. In this sense it is a sophisticated yet readable and, for the most part, a jargon free account. I particularly enjoyed the references to literature and popular culture that are nicely interwoven with political speeches, views and debates." - Dr Chris Gifford, University of Huddersfield, UK

"Britain's often contentious relationship with the European Union appears headed, in one way or another, towards a decisive juncture in the coming years. While the politics of this relationship have given rise to a vast body of commentary and scholarship, its underlying cultural dimension has been comparatively less examined. Menno Spiering's A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism admirably fills this gap. Drawing on an impressive range of historical and literary sources, Spiering produces a succinct, accessible volume unpacking the core cultural (mis)understandings that continue to account for Britain's problematic relationship with 'the Continent'. The commonplace, unquestioned assumptions that inform political and media discourse are cast into new light, as Spiering deftly probes the historical 'othering' of the 'Europeans' in the construction of British identity. Written with an engaging wit, this is a 'must read' for anyone concerned with the unfolding of the next chapter in the 'island story'." - Professor Robert Harmsen, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg


Table of contents (6 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Spiering, Menno

    Pages 1-7

  • The Second World War

    Spiering, Menno

    Pages 8-19

  • The European Other

    Spiering, Menno

    Pages 20-29

  • The Island Story

    Spiering, Menno

    Pages 30-43

  • The Invention of Europe

    Spiering, Menno

    Pages 44-72

Buy this book

eBook n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-44755-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
Hardcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-137-44754-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
Softcover n/a
  • ISBN 978-1-349-49623-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A Cultural History of British Euroscepticism
Authors
Copyright
2015
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan UK
Copyright Holder
Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-44755-5
DOI
10.1057/9781137447555
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-44754-8
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-49623-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VI, 88
Topics