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Explaining the nature of opposition in Britain to the European Community since 1973.

Currid, James Noel (1998) Explaining the nature of opposition in Britain to the European Community since 1973. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the nature of British opposition since 1973 to both European Community (EC) membership and further European inteqration, by analysinq the forms of discourse utilised by political actors in Britain's "Europe debate". Tom Nairn's writings on Britain's pre-entry "Europe debate" are used to develop an "anti-EC" discourse typoloqy. The types identified are "pragmatic" discourse, whose object of discourse is the EC' s material costs; "ideoloqical" discourse, whose object of discourse is the EC' s pro-capitalist or pro-socialist nature; and "nationalist" discourse. Four objects of "nationalist" discourse are identified: Parliamentary Sovereignty; Britain's world-role; France; and Germany. Corresponding types of "pro-EC" discourse are also ldentified. The thesis' hypothesis is that, since 1973, "anti-EC" discourse in British politics has primarily been "nationalist" in content. In order to develop a theoretically and historically informed understandinq of the wider social context within which "anti-EC" discourse is utilised, the thesis draws upon: a Marxian account of British historical development ("Nairn-Anderson Theses Informed Studies of Britain"); Marxian theories of ideology; theories of discourse, particularly those of Foucault; and larqely non-Marxian theoretical approaches to understanding the existence, persistence and political importance of ideologies, such as British "anti-EC" nationalism, which no longer serve the interests of the hegemonic group in society ("the latent conception of ideology"). To test the hypothesis, the contents and themes of the discourse utilised in three case studies of Britain's post-1973 "Europe debate" are examined: the 1975 Referendum campaign; the 1986 House of Commons' debates on the Single European Act; and the 1992-3 House of Commons debates on the "Maastricht Treaty". The findings from these case studies are valid, in that, over time, "anti-EC! discourse increasingly became "nationalist" in tone, particularly in its references to Parliamentary Sovereignty as its object of discourse.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.394443
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 11:04
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 11:04
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21773

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