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Shaping the Nation before the Reformation: English National Identity up to 1530

Collinson, Stephanie Kathryn (2015) Shaping the Nation before the Reformation: English National Identity up to 1530. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The broad subject of ‘nation’ has received substantial scholarly attention, which has resulted in a variety of opinions regarding the dating of the emergence of nationhood. Dominant theories suggest that it is a modern development, belonging to post-eighteenth century democratic government and a result of this shift in the political landscape. Others have asserted much earlier developments, particularly for England, such as the Reformation of the 1530s, the Hundred Years War or earlier, as the defining periods of identity formation. However, the period of almost a century between the final stage of the Hundred Years War and the break with Rome, particularly the decades preceding the 1530s, has not been fully explored in relation to English nationhood. This thesis will look at evidence for the articulation of English nationhood – that is the sense of belonging to a community which identified itself as English – within this period. It will draw upon the definition of modern nations, outlined by Craig Calhoun, in order to demonstrate the capacity for early sixteenth-century England to understand identity within the same parameters. It will suggest that national identity was complex, and articulated in a number of ways, and that these depended upon earlier developments and sentiment but were more fully explored and made available through the advent of print. In their turn, ways in which identity was expressed during this period provided a framework for negotiating the break with Rome and its implications for Englishness. In contrast to theories which suggest the incompatibility of monarchical systems of government and the idea of nations, it will also demonstrate that the crown was central to directing national sentiment, and aimed to invest the nation in itself as a means of ensuring support and participation of subjects, although sentiments of Englishness did not always follow, but transcended the crown’s rhetoric.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: nation, nationhood, English, identity
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689242
Depositing User: Miss Stephanie Kathryn Collinson
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2016 12:02
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2020 09:53
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13438

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