Greatness and Decline : National Identity and British Foreign Policy-9780228005872

Greatness and Decline : National Identity and British Foreign Policy

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Exceptionalist ideas have long influenced British foreign policy. As Britain begins to confront the challenges of a post-Brexit era in an increasingly unstable world, a re-examination of the nature and causes of this exceptionalist bent is in order. Arguing that Britain's search for greatness in world affairs was, and still is, a matter of habit, Srdjan Vucetic takes a closer look at the period between Clement Attlee's "New Jerusalem" and Tony Blair's New Labour. Britain's tenacious pursuit of global power was never just a function of consensus among policymakers or even political elites more broadly. Rather, it developed from popular, everyday, and gradually evolving ideas about identity circulating within British - and, more specifically, English - society as a whole. To uncover these ideas, Vucetic works with a unique archive of political speeches, newspapers, history textbooks, novels, and movies across colonial, Cold War, and post-Cold War periods. Greatness and Decline sheds new light on Britain's interactions with the rest of the world while demonstrating new possibilities for constructivist foreign policy analysis.


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