A nation at ease with itself? Images of Britain and the Anglo-Britishness debate 1979-1994

Jones, S.L., 1995. A nation at ease with itself? Images of Britain and the Anglo-Britishness debate 1979-1994. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis attempts to excavate the contested ground of British cultural identity in the 1980s and 1990s through a series of contingently related images and narratives of nationhood. In the tradition of left-wing analysis it interrogates notions of place, race, belonging and representation, while at the same time problematising some of the positions associated with this form of critique. Assumptions about the pervasiveness of a dominant ideology of nationhood are studied and challenged.

The thesis suspends a series of images and ideas of Britain in a more dialogical relationship with one another than conceptual or analytical frameworks generally provide. Following an introductory review of the Britishness debate, three original case studies negotiate issues of identity formation in the recent past, concentrating on the production and dissemination of particular cultural forms.

Chapter One discusses the emergence of a new documentary movement in contemporary Britain, which takes the documentary tradition of the 1930s as its point of departure. The chapter considers the different ways in which travellers have attempted to portray the nation and map its boundaries, questioning the privileged, distanced gaze that has typified 'images of Britain' and its political homologies.

Chapter Two considers the position of the male body in the formation of national identity, specifically in relation to men's style magazines. Male and national identities have often been elided, and this chapter shows that such an association is constructed and historically variable.

Chapter Three addresses the construction of the past in recent British screen fictions. 'Heritage' has attracted a wide literature, much of it censorious. The chapter problematises such a monolithic reading by suggesting that the representation of, and response to, past times is divergent and contested.

An afterword suggests the difficulties in notions of epistemological synthesis and indicates some of the contours

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Jones, S.L.
Date: 1995
ISBN: 9781369312898
Divisions: Professional Services > Libraries and Learning Resources
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Aug 2020 10:01
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2023 10:23
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/40561

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