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Moving beyond British exceptionalism

Ludlow, N. Piers ORCID: 0000-0002-4883-4536 (2024) Moving beyond British exceptionalism. In: Segers, Mathieu and Van Hecke, Steven, (eds.) The Cambridge History of the European Union: Volume 2, European Integration Inside-Out. Cambridge University Press, 182 - 206. ISBN 9781108478939

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Identification Number: 10.1017/9781108781480.007


It is tempting to interpret the convoluted narrative that led to Brexit as a story of British exceptionalism. The fit between European integration and the United Kingdom (UK) had never been easy – much less natural, it would appear, than for any other country in Europe. It was for this reason that the British initially stood aside from the process, spurning repeated chances to join the institutional precursors to the European Union (EU). When they did belatedly change their mind and join the European Economic Community (EEC), moreover, they did so amid sustained domestic controversy. The deep-seated mismatch between Britain and its European partners was to become a leitmotiv of the country’s forty-six years as an EC/EU member state. The UK was never at ease within the EC/EU, but instead at odds with important aspects of the process, divided internally on the necessity of membership and liable to see itself as an ‘awkward partner’, the malcontent within.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Divisions: International History
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2024 10:39
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 06:01

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