Narratives of Empire

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Arguably, if discussions on what constitutes Britishness and British identity in the twenty-first century are to be both historically reflexive and contemporarily accountable, the relationship between Britain’s largely imperial past and its fragmented present requires much closer investigation.  In fact, despite recent attempts to invoke discussions on the British Empire, both academic and public, the relationship between the British Isles and the British Empire and its affects upon contemporary constructions of British identity, remain somewhat divorced from wider debates on the post-imperial decline of Britain.

While forming part of an ongoing doctoral thesis, this research sheds light on the relationship between Britain’s national and imperial history within the domestic and foreign press coverage of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Games.  Accordingly, it aims to explore how the English national press construct, frame and represent notions of Britishness in their coverage of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Ceremonies.

Underpinning this analysis, two interrelated questions were considered.  First, how has a history of British imperialism shaped perceptions of British identity in the English press’ coverage of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Ceremonies, and second, what does this reveal in regards to contemporary ‘mediated’ constructions of Britain and British identity?