Purpose & Values of the Research

Within an academic research project the researcher has their own beliefs, or an "ontological view". This research is no exception. 

The purpose of the research is centred around 3 research questions:

  1. To examine English national identity as a political, personal and cultural phenomenon
  2. To identify how English national identity is framed in a globalised and cosmopolitan context
  3. To explore English national identity in relation to UK constitutional change    
In looking at these questions the researcher takes the view that national identity has less to do with ethnicity, DNA and place of birth than with geographical location and shared values. It is more to do with "routes rather than roots" (McCrone 2001, Paterson 1994, Hearn 2000) the more so within a globalised world where migration patterns and the postcolonial demography of England have created an ethnically diverse but culturally uncertain environment.

England itself is an uncertain construct. Within the UK it is seen by many, including the British Government and the EU, as more of a collection of regions than a nation, unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Englishness is often conflated with Britishness. English identity doesn't have the salience of Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish identity. English identity has become subsumed into Britishness as a consequence of the 1707 Act Of Union and the subsequent English-inspired British Empire (Kumar 2003). 

But times have changed: in a postcolonial world the British constutional status quo is being challenged by devolution and the Brexit referendum, for example. Englishness is being revisited as a response to these and other circumstances. This research seeks to identify how Englishness might evolve in a diverse and inclusive sense as a response to new political, constitutional and demographic realities. The research also seeks to detoxify Englishness as a necessary part of this evolution.

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