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Britishness, Identity and Citizenship

The View From Abroad

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Edited By Catherine McGlynn, Andrew Mycock and J.W. McAuley

This volume is an exciting contribution to debates about identity and citizenship both in the UK and elsewhere. By examining the view from abroad, through popular cultural transmission, education, and travel and migration, the transnational nature of Britishness and the political and cultural dynamism of the concept and its contemporary relevance becomes apparent. The multi-layered relationships uncovered in this work have historically shaped both the transmission and reception of Britishness and continue to do so. The international group of contributors, from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, synthesise contemporary and historical debates about Britishness to offer a vital breadth to a debate that is becoming increasingly narrow and introspective in the UK.

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Section Four - Post Imperial Citizenship: Homecoming and Identity - 289

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Section Four Post Imperial Citizenship: Homecoming and Identity Alan Sears, Ian Davies and Alan Reid 15 From Britishness to Nothingness and Back Again: Looking for a Way Forward in Citizenship Education The London tube and bus bombings of July 7, 2005 were horrific and the level of concern in Britain was greatly heightened by the discovery that the bombers were not foreigners or immigrants but native-born British citizens. As then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said: We have to face uncomfortable facts that while the British response to July 7th was remarkable, they were British citizens, British born apparently integrated into our communities who were prepared to maim and kill fellow British citizens irrespective of their own religion … We have to be clearer now about how the diverse cultures which inevitably contain dif ferences can find the essential common purpose also without which no society can f lourish.1 Shortly after becoming Prime Minister, Brown commissioned Lord Gold- smith to investigate British citizenship including attention to issues of diversity.2 About the same time as the London bombings, concerns about the challenges raised by increasing ethnic and social diversity in Australia motivated the federal government to introduce a national programme designed to foster the teaching of ‘Australian Values’ in schools. Brendan Nelson, the Education Minister of the day, asserted: 1 BBC News, ‘Brown’s speech promotes Britishness’, (14 January 2006) http://news. bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4611682.stm accessed 10 May 2008. 2 Lord Goldsmith QC, Citizenship: Our Common Bond (London: Ministry of Justice, 2008). 292 Alan...

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