Mycock, Andrew (2007) The Enduring Legacy of Empire: Post-imperial Citizenship and National Identity(ies) in the United Kingdom. In: Multiculturalism and Moral Conflict, 21-23 March 2007, Durham University Centre for the History of Political Thought. (Unpublished)
Abstract

Imperial decline has taken place in societies where traditions of citizenship have been either weak or absent, and the vast majority of imperial citizens were actually subjects. As such, political relationships within imperial constructs, although occasionally codified, were predominantly defined by hierarchy and asymmetry, with civil and political rights underpinned by elite arbitrariness and unaccountability. This noted, ‘missionary imperialism’ that promoted the hegemony of the dominant ethnic or national group(s) within most European empires encouraged the subsuming and conflation of civic and ethno-cultural dimensions of community and identity within a broader imperial framework that (partially) mollified competing nationalist discourses, thus suggesting homogeneity and inclusion. Moreover, the scale and demands of empire ensured the necessity to construct civic relationships that accommodated peripheral elites and their representative groups, and encouraged patterns of (asymmetric) migration and cultural exchange. However, civic inclusivity, and the intensity of the accordant identity, was largely defined by the degree of national, ethnic, social and religious commonality of imperial subjects and their perceived proximity to the dominant colonising group

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