What does it mean to be British?
The Rise of Multicultural Britain 1945-1990

  • Iona Jones

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The following study is an examination of British national identity in the time period 1945-1990. In order to understand national identity in this period, this study looks at legislation that was introduced, the personal experiences of black and Asian migrants and how they manifested in British communities. The legislation introduced created and legitimised the idea of different national identities while attempting to integrate migrant communities. The personal experiences demonstrate the complex negotiations that migrants had with their identities, while community relations evidenced the disparity between what legislation was trying to create and the lived experiences of migrants. In this forty-five year period, it is clear that British national identity had entered a period of renegotiation that failed to encompass migrant communities by 1990. By examining the legislation implemented by governments alongside lived experiences of migrants and their families, this study is able to uncover the disparity between the intentions of legislators and how they impacted the real world. The oral histories demonstrate how legislators may have showed an evolving progressive attitude, where as public interactions within education, communities and policing demonstrate a much slower acceptance and a variable perception of national identity.
Date of Award1 Feb 2024
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRob Ellis (Main Supervisor)

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