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Brown Britain: post-colonial politics and grand strategy

Barkawi, Tarak ORCID: 0000-0001-5526-5055 and Brighton, Shane (2013) Brown Britain: post-colonial politics and grand strategy. International Affairs, 89 (5). pp. 1109-1123. ISSN 0020-5850

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-2346.12062


How do we approach the subject of British grand strategy today? This article seeks a new approach to this question. It argues that there is a gap of grand strategic significance between actually-existing Britain and the Britain its political elites tend to imagine. The colonial and imperial histories that helped constitute and still shape the contemporary United Kingdom have fallen through this gap. One consequence is a grand strategic vision limited to a choice of partner in decline-Europe or the US. Overlooked are the power political potentialities of post-colonial generations situated in multiple sites at home and abroad. In search of this potential, we lay the conceptual basis for a strategic project in which the British 'island subject' is replaced by a globally networked community of fate: 'Brown Britain'. This entails reimagining the referent object of British strategy through diaspora economies, diverse histories and pluralized systems of agency. What might such a post-colonial strategy entail for British policy? We offer initial thoughts and reflect on the often occluded social and political theoretic content of strategic thought.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author & International Affairs
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 09:44
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2023 21:48

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