British Politics

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 139–155

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

  • Rhys Andrews
  • Andrew Mycock

DOI: 10.1057/bp.2007.36

Cite this article as:
Andrews, R. & Mycock, A. Br Polit (2008) 3: 139. doi:10.1057/bp.2007.36


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.


citizenship education Britishness devolution policy divergence 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhys Andrews
    • 1
  • Andrew Mycock
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Local and Regional Government Research, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff UniversityUK
  2. 2.Division of CriminologyPolitics and Sociology, University of Huddersfield, QueensgateHuddersfieldUK

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