‘Englishness never died, but has increasingly emerged from the shadows of Britishness’ | A. Evans- LSE

‘Englishness never died, but has increasingly emerged from the shadows of Britishness’ | A. Evans- LSE

For decades it was taken as a given that whereas people in the Celtic fringe could talk of a Welsh or Scottish identity, in England Britishness commanded a monopoly over identity. This dislocation of a domestic English identity by Britishness, should not, however, be understood as meaning that no sense of Englishness existed. Rather, Britishness was conceptualised by many in England, as Englishness retitled, defined largely by English history, norms and institutions. The point was made by Gwynfor Evans in his claim that “Britishness… is a political synonym for Englishness which extends English culture over the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish.” In this light, England’s contentment with the United Kingdom and its traditional attachment to a British identity can be largely explained by England’s hegemony of the commanding heights of Britain’s constitution, institutions and economy.

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