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Euroscepticism and the culture of the discipline of history

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 May 2006

Abstract

This article explores the uses of history in contemporary Eurosceptic discourse in Britain. It does so in the knowledge that studying an essentially contested concept such as Euroscepticism poses severe methodological problems, and in the first section I situate my article in the emerging scholarly literature on the subject. Having explained why I limit my research to popular Euroscepticism in the tabloid press, in the second section I critically analyse the rhetorical strategies employed by the Sun and the Daily Mail to garner support for their line on Europe, suggesting that the appeal of their discourse resides in its recourse to national history of the school textbook variety. In the third part I use this finding to argue that the discipline of history has been an unwitting accomplice in making Euroscepticism so popular amongst the British public, press and politicians. This has considerable ramifications both for the theoretical study of Euroscepticism and the political efforts to counter its popularity, and I consider all of these in the conclusion.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2006 British International Studies Association

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