Romantic Scotland, Tragic England, Ambiguous Britain: Constructions of 'the Empire' in post devolution national accounting

Susan Condor, Jackie Abell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    32 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This article compares the ways in which references to ‘the (British) Empire’ were constructed and used in interview accounts of national identity and domestic politics in Scotland and in England. In Scotland, spontaneous accounts of Empire were typically formulated in conjunction with nationalist moral meta-narratives. Respondents variously inferred heroic national character from Scotland's role in Empire, or cast Scottish history as an enduring struggle between progressive forces of nationalism and atavistic forces of Anglo-British colonialism. The construct of Britishness was often seen to derive from, and to be synonymous with, the history of Empire. In England, the Empire story tended to be framed within anti-nationalist meta-narratives. Imperialism was generally understood to represent a product of excessive nationalism, and tales of Empire were used to draw exemplary moral lessons concerning the deficiencies of Anglo-British national character and of the catastrophic consequences of the pursuit of national self-interest more generally. The existence of Britain, and the construct of Britishness, were generally understood to both predate and postdate the history of Empire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-472
    Number of pages20
    JournalNations and Nationalism
    Volume12
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2006

    Fingerprint

    devolution
    Scotland
    England
    decentralization
    History
    nationalism
    Colonialism
    history
    national politics
    imperialism
    colonialism
    national identity
    Politics
    Prednisolone
    narrative
    Interviews
    colonial age
    national accounting
    Devolution
    politics

    Keywords

    • England
    • Scotland
    • devolution
    • national identity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)
    • Social Sciences(all)

    Cite this

    Romantic Scotland, Tragic England, Ambiguous Britain : Constructions of 'the Empire' in post devolution national accounting. / Condor, Susan; Abell, Jackie.

    In: Nations and Nationalism, Vol. 12, No. 3, 19.06.2006, p. 453-472.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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