The ‘Imperial’ Elephant in the Room

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Despite the de-colonization of Britain’s African colonies, the transfer of Hong Kong sovereignty to China and the move towards devolution within the U.K., examinations of the English press coverage on the 2012 Diamond Jubilee and London Olympic Ceremonies, revealed that debates relating to Britain’s imperial history formed an integral part of the press’ construction of Britain and British identity.  In particular, the British Empire was found to underlie discussions on British multiculturalism and immigration as well as the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum.

With this in mind, this research aims to expand upon previous analyses of the English press in order to consider how notions of ‘imperial decline’ and ‘national anxiety’ form part of the contemporary construction of Britain and its global role, post-empire.