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The road to BrexitA cultural perspective on British attitudes to Europe$
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Ina Habermann

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526145086

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7765/9781526145093

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 05 August 2021

‘I don’t want to be a European’: the European Other in British cultural discourse1

‘I don’t want to be a European’: the European Other in British cultural discourse1

Chapter:
(p.126) 6 ‘I don’t want to be a European’: the European Other in British cultural discourse1
Source:
The road to Brexit
Author(s):

Menno Spiering

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526145093.00015

The British vote to leave the EU is frequently explained with reference to the effects of immigration, the rise of populism, the country’s imperial past, memories of the Second World War, its attachment to parliamentary democracy, and its special relationship with the United States. Relevant as all these issues are, to fully understand Brexit it is also necessary to pay attention to the strong cultural forces that have driven the vote to leave. To put it simply, many people in Britain are literally Eurosceptic in the sense that they do not feel European, but instead see Europe and ‘the Europeans’ as the Other. Chiefly drawing on literature, and connecting the discourse of traditional anti-Catholicism with contemporary anti-Europeanism, this chapter explores the origins, nature and consequences of British cultural exceptionalism.

Keywords:   Exceptionalism, Othering, (Cultural) Euroscepticism, Anti-Catholicism, Anti-Europeanism

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