In this project, we examine British nationalism in the light of the Brexit vote on June 23rd, 2016 in
Britain. We seek to understand the underlying causes of Brexit by focusing on the national history of
Britain, with a special focus on the relationship between EU and Britain and the national identity of
the British people. To examine this, we have explored the work of historians Benedict Anderson,
Niall Ferguson and sociologist Gurminder Bhambra.
Andersons’ Imagined Communities presents a theory on nationalism which we have applied to the
work of Ferguson and Bhambra. This has given two contrasting perspectives of how Britain
perceives itself as a country, both in a historical and a contemporary context.
To answer whether nationalism played a part in the Brexit vote, we analysed speeches given in the
lead up to the referendum by two leading voices in the Brexit debate; one on behalf of the Remain
campaign by David Cameron and another from Michael Gove of the Leave campaign. We found that
they both referred to a certain British national identity, but with differing views on how Britain
would succeed in achieving the greatest possible influence in the world. By analysing the speeches
with the perspectives of Bhambra, Ferguson and Anderson, we conclude that Brexit is an expression
of British national identity. Whilst there is disagreement on whether Britain is strongest within or
without the European Union, Britain’s conception of itself as a great nation is a common thread
throughout the narratives.
|Uddannelser||Basis - Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis|
|Udgivelsesdato||28 maj 2017|