Dilemmas of Devolution: The ‘Politics of Britishness’ and Citizenship Education

Rhys Andrews, Andrew Mycock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent calls for British values to be promoted in citizenship classes raise as many questions about civic and national identity in the UK as they purport to answer. In particular, to what extent is talk of promoting 'Britishness' in schools any longer relevant in the post-devolution era? It is increasingly apparent that British values and culture have a variety of meanings for the multitude of social groups across and within the devolved state. Moreover, while the introduction of statutory Citizenship lessons in England was undoubtedly an important event in British political history, citizenship education is treated very differently within the curricula of each home nation. This paper explores the relationship between the 'politics of Britishness' and attempts to promote civic and national identity through citizenship education in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The implications of this policy divergence for the future of British citizenship are then considered, before the paper concludes by arguing for greater joined-up thinking on citizenship education across the UK.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Politics
Issue number2
Early online date2 Jun 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2008


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