Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 272–292 | Cite as

British national identity and the Anglo-American special relationship

  • Srdjan VuceticEmail author


Why are successive UK governments so staunchly committed to the ‘special relationship’ with the US? One common answer — a part of an answer at least - evokes the role of identity and identification. The UK supports the US because the UK’s ruling elite believe that the Americans and the British are birds of a feather. This article examines this hypothesis from a ‘national identity as a variable’ framework developed in constructivist International Relations theory. The main argument presented is that UK support for the special relationship is rooted not simply in elite beliefs but rather in a wider societal acceptance of the global hegemony of ‘American’ democratic neoliberalism. Multiple national identity discourses exist, but none of them calls on Westminster and Whitehall to chart a path that would be at odds with a world centred on Washington, DC.


Anglo-American special relationship foreign policy analysis UK foreign policy Anglo-French Entente national identity state identity discourse analysis international relations theory constructivism 


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© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Public and International AffairsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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