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Menno Spiering

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Menno Spiering

Abstract

Britain is the home of the term Euroscepticism. Coined in this country in the mid-1980s, the word has since been widely used in the media and has been adopted by many individuals and organisations, in as well as outside Britain. This article first deals with the ‘when’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ of British Euroscepticism. After locating the phenomenon in time and place, its characteristics are examined in greater depth. It is argued that British Euroscepticism is in part the product of British ‘differentness’ as manifested in the electoral and party political system, the condition of the press and a tradition of regarding the country and people as distinct from Europe and the Europeans.

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Menno Spiering

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As in other countries, food and national identity are closely linked in England. Since the sixteenth century the English have considered beef as the commodity that best expresses their perceived national characteristics of common sense, love of liberty, manliness and martial prowess. Even today beef remains a popular emblem of nationhood, as witness the deep national indignation when the product was declared unsafe in the 1990s. Discussing the relationship between diet, food and national identity, this article explores the history and meaning of beef in England, and also instances of food imagery employed in nationalist discourse in the past and in the present. Once a familiar figure in prints and literature, ‘the eating Englishman’ has been replaced by images of ‘the Englishman being eaten’, an indication of increasing national uncertainty, especially since the end of the Second World War. It is proposed that this phagophobic reaction is the result of continuing strains in Anglo-European relations.

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Englishness

Foreigners and Images of National Identity in Postwar Literature

Menno Spiering

Faced with the demise of their country on the world stage, with the Americanization of their society and with the prospect of integration into Europe, many people in postwar-Britain, and in particular in England, began to look more closely at their national identity. Using literature as a source material, this study investigates postwar images of Englishness as they are defined in relation not only to ‘Americans’ and ‘Europeans’, but also to other foreigners: the ‘Arabs’ and the ‘Russians.’ In the context of the Anglo-American novel particular regard is given to Englishness in Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and David Lodge’s Changing Places. Subsequently the book focuses on that peculiarly English genre ‘the invasion story’, tales in which Englishness comes under direct attack from evil plotters from abroad. While the history of the genre is discussed at some length, detailed attention is paid to images of Englishness in Angus Wilson’s The Old Men at the Zoo (united European forces invade a Euro-recalcitrant Britain), Anthony Burgess’ 1985 (Arab infiltrators prepare to Islamize the English) and Kingsley Amis’ Russian Hide and Seek (after a period of occupation the Russians attempt to give the English back their Englishness).
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Robert Harmsen and Menno Spiering

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Robert Harmsen and Menno Spiering

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Euroscepticism

Party Politics, National Identity and European Integration

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The accelerated pace of European integration since the early 1990s has been accompanied by the emergence of increasingly prominent and multiform oppositions to the process. The term Euroscepticism has appeared with growing frequency in a range of political, media, and academic discourses. Yet, the label is applied to a wide range of different, and occasionally contradictory, phenomena. Although originally associated with an English exceptionalism relative to a Continental project of political and economic integration, the term Euroscepticism is now also identified with a more general questioning of European Union institutions and policies which finds diverse expressions across the entire continent. This volume of European Studies brings together an interdisciplinary team of contributors to provide one of the first major, multinational surveys of the growth of these Eurosceptic tendencies. Individual chapters provide detailed examinations of developments in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Switzerland. Overall, the volume draws a distinctive portrait of contemporary Euroscepticism, situating the phenomenon not only relative to the progress of European integration, but also in relation to broader questions concerned with the evolution of party politics and the reshaping of national identities.
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Machiavelli

Figure-Reputation

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National Identity

Symbol and Representation