Britishness in Trafalgar Square: Urban place and the construction of national identity

Sumartojo, S 2009, 'Britishness in Trafalgar Square: Urban place and the construction of national identity', Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 410-428.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Britishness in Trafalgar Square: Urban place and the construction of national identity
Author(s) Sumartojo, S
Year 2009
Journal name Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Volume number 9
Issue number 3
Start page 410
End page 428
Total pages 19
Publisher Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism
Abstract This article argues for the importance of urban public place in exploring how contemporary national identity is constructed. I take Trafalgar Square as my case study, exploring how Britishness was reinvented in two events that took place there in 2005: the celebrations for London’s successful Olympic host city bid and the commemorative vigil for the victims of the 7 July London bombings. I contend that during these events, Trafalgar Square contributed to the discourse of national identity in three distinct ways: firstly, as a podium for the promulgation of official messages about the two events; secondly, as a tableau that demonstrated the ‘diversity in unity’ that official messages emphasised; and finally as a physical frame that accessed a version of British history to contextualise the events. More generally, the use of the square helped illuminate some important tensions at the heart of contemporary national identity in Britain, such as the question of multiculturalism and the role of London in the national imagination.
Subject Sociology not elsewhere classified
Social and Cultural Geography
DOI - identifier 10.1111/j.1754-9469.2009.01060.x
Copyright notice © 2010 Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism
ISSN 1473-8481
Versions
Version Filter Type
Altmetric details:
Access Statistics: 144 Abstract Views  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Mon, 11 Nov 2013, 11:26:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
© 2014 RMIT Research Repository • Powered by Fez SoftwareContact us