Identity Politics: Multiculturalism, Britishness and Europe

Bernard Crick

in Active Citizenship

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638666
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671939 | DOI:
Identity Politics: Multiculturalism, Britishness and Europe

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This chapter discusses identity politics, multiculturalism and Britishness in the context of Europe. It recounts and endorses the identities of the separate nations of the United Kingdom as politically important and culturally valuable (so long as they can accommodate the actuality of increasing diversity), but it argues that they do not require an independent nation state for their legitimate expression or survival. It contends that Britishness is not a cultural identity like being English, Welsh or Scottish; if it is ‘cultural at all’ it is a formal culture associated with a set of shared institutions and values. Its main criticism appears to be directed at the projection of ‘Britishness’ as if it were a superior form of national identity. It insists that Britain has the potential for greater devolution in its several parts, from state to civil society, and from government to people.

Keywords: identity politics; multiculturalism; Britishness; Europe; United Kingdom; national identity; devolution; civil society

Chapter.  4798 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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