Great Britain and Little Ireland: Reimagining British Irish relations in BIPA, Brexit and Beyond.

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Focusing on a particularly disruptive period, this chapter investigates ‘the shifting shapes of smallness´ in British-Irish relations from 2016-2020. The investigation is framed by the UKs departure from the European Union, an event with enormous consequences for debates on the relative “size” of Britain, relations between its constituent nations (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and with Ireland. Drawing primarily on plenary sessions in the transnational British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, the chapter examines how members seek to shift the shape of political communities and navigate tensions between understanding smallness as a driver of integration across the isles; conceiving smallness as a dynamic in which the ‘Celtic Fringe’ unhinges England; and forwarding smallness as an argument for independence in Europe. The British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly is a particular useful prism for studying this relative ‘politics of smallness’, because it uniquely refracts overlapping and competing alliances between communities, nations and states (which all have different powers, legal statuses, international obligations and even constitutional designs for the future). At the same time, the Assembly provides a shared space to articulate auto- and hetero-images that accompany, reflect, and help shape these positionings.
Focusing on the dynamics of size in British-Irish relations and the constant remaking of what it means to be small, enables a broader and deeper understanding of contemporary debates about independence and interdependence as well as forces of unionism and nationalism which seek to reposition the constituent parts of the UK in relation to each other, to the two parts of Ireland and to the EU.
TitelThe Politics of Smallness in Modern Europe. : Size, Identity and International Relations since 1800.
Antal sider29
StatusAccepteret/In press - 2020

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