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English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere: Wider still and wider

by Ben Wellings Manchester University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 216 pages
AU$58.99 NZ$60.86
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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This is the first sustained research that examines the inter-relationships between English nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere. Much initial analysis of Brexit concentrated on the revolt of those 'left behind' by globalization, whereas this book analyses the elite project behind Brexit. This project was framed within the political traditions of an expansive English nationalism. Far from being parochial 'Little Englanders', elite Brexiteers sought to lessen the rupture of leaving the European Union by suggesting a return to trade and security alliances with true friends and traditional allies in the Anglosphere. By advancing our understanding of English nationalism through an analysis of the elite project of Brexit and its links with the Anglosphere, this book will appeal to students and scholars of British and European politics and international relations as well as the emerging field of trans-national networks amongst and between the English-speaking nations of the world.


1 Introduction: English nationalism, Euroscepticism and the Anglosphere
Part I: Discovering England
2 England's dilemmas: national questions in a global era
3 Locating England: national traditions and political dilemmas
Part II: Three pillars of the English Anglosphere
4 Gift to the world: England's shared exceptionalism
5 Greater Britain: England's wider categories of belonging
6 Great wars: England and the defence of British sovereignty
Part III: England's Brexit and the Anglosphere
7 Leap into the known: the Anglosphere, England and the Brexit referendum
8 Taking back control: global Britain and Brexit England
9 Conclusion: Brexit as English nationalism


'A thoughtful and subtle book that has not been outdated by the unpredictable twists and turns of events. Wellings identifies an interesting problem: that Brexit is both English and not English. Support for Brexit was strongest in England, but the expressed aims of the Brexit campaign, putting British sovereignty and "global Britain" at the forefront, tend to push England back out of the picture. Whatever the outcome of our present travails whether English nationalism finally emerges will remain important, and this book will help us to reflect on what is happening.'
Robert Tombs, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge, and author of The English and Their History

'Brexit has plunged the UK into its greatest peacetime crisis. In this incisive study Ben Wellings explores how an elite project built around Euroscepticism and the Anglosphere created a majority coalition for Leave by reshaping English nationalism. Essential reading for understanding why England voted for Brexit and what the future holds.'
Andrew Gamble, Professor of Politics, SPERI, University of Sheffield

'In this original and impressive book, Ben Wellings argues that Brexit can be understood as a three-level dilemma for this 'least parochial' of nationalisms: getting the UK out of the EU, maintaining the Union and reintegrating the UK into global markets. The case is made with intelligence and subtlety and Wellings establishes a new standard of interpretation for the politics of Englishness.'
Arthur Aughey, Emeritus Professor of Politics, Ulster University
Ben Wellings is Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia