It is not a coincidence that perceptions of sovereignty were key reasons why the United Kingdom referendum on European Union membership ended in a victory for the Leave side. In this article, we will apply methods of conceptual history to parliamentary debates in order to trace the development of sovereignty as a political concept in Europe-related debates through studies of four periods between 1945 and 2016. We will show that both supporters and opponents of European unity deliberately used the British position on sovereignty in political struggles throughout the analyzed period. The concept was used above all to describe the traditional view of the supremacy of British parliamentary sovereignty, but it was also used for different purposes to create a perception of how sovereignty could or could not be modified in dealing with an integrating Europe.
European Unity and the Conceptualization of Sovereignty in British Parliamentary Debates, 1945–2016
Teemu Häkkinen and Miina Kaarkoski
In this article I will present a range of experiences of graduate socialisation that have been discussed in past articles in the journal Anthropology Matters. These are the experiences of social anthropology Ph.D. students in the United Kingdom. The overarching theme for the article is 'regulating emotions', and the excerpts presented illustrate how Ph.D. students experience and deal with different emotional states that they encounter during the pre-fieldwork, fieldwork and writing up stages. I argue that the way in which these emotional states are handled may be just as important, in terms of gaining a Ph.D., as the increase in knowledge that is the ostensible marker of a completed Ph.D.
Learning to be a claimant in the United Kingdom
This article tracks the learning experiences of a refugee mother in negotiating her housing rights during her first months of settlement in the United Kingdom. New migrants often experience bureaucracy as “novices” in unfamiliar legal and bureaucratic regimes. By contrast to common depictions of bureaucracies as predominant sites of disenchantment and frustration, I attend ethnographically to the ways in which novice claimants come to trust and value bureaucratic encounters as productive spaces that reveal to them the vocabulary of legitimacy as they learn to inhabit official categories and forge bureaucratic personhoods. I suggest an understanding of migrants’ previous knowledge of non-Western bureaucratic regimes shapes their experiences of ambiguity in bureaucracy.
The 2011 Libya campaign highlighted the divergence of interests between France and Germany within the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in matters of Middle East and global security. This divergence calls for a reassessment of the meaning of their bilateral cooperation, as defined in the Treaty of Friendship between France and Germany, otherwise known as the Élysée Treaty, signed on 22 January 1963 by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and President Charles de Gaulle. This article focuses on France, which engaged militarily in Libya cooperating with the United Kingdom as its principal European partner. Germany, for reasons explained by its history, political culture, and the nature of its federal system, chose to abstain in the United Nations vote to authorize the campaign. These differences between France and Germany suggest a contrast in their respective security and, particularly defense, policy objectives on the fiftieth anniversary of the Élysée Treaty.
Paperwork and the Political Machine
Alexander Thomas T. Smith
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Dumfries and Galloway, this article describes how Conservative Party activists put a variety of discursive artefacts to work as they sought to mass produce and distribute leaflets during the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. The leaflet, called In Touch, rendered explicit the need to demonstrate that a political candidate and political party are connected (in touch) with a wider community. This leaflet was therefore designed to invoke a set of connections between person (the candidate), place (the Council Ward/community) and political party (the Conservatives) that might register with even the most disinterested elector. At the same time, the production of these leaflets facilitated the generation of an activist network amongst the party's volunteer base, which exhausted itself by the time Polling Day passed. I argue that addressing logistical and organizational questions - that is, activist methodology - in the production of the In Touch leaflet focused the attention of political activists more than the 'issues' on which they intended to campaign, which were 'found' or 'produced' as artefacts or contrivances of activist labour. In addressing such questions, Tory strategists hoped to 'make (a) difference' given that they tended to view previous campaigns to have been executed in an amateur and disorganized fashion. Through the sheer scale of their production and distribution throughout Dumfries and Galloway, it was hoped that the In Touch leaflets would produce social as well as electoral effects.
The purpose of this article is to analyze environmental public participation in the UK from the perspective of the polluting organization. Public participation, or an organization's stakeholder management, describes various channels available for the public to engage with and influence decision-making processes. Over the lifetime of an organization, the public seeks to engage with the organization or with specific goods or services offered. Such concerns and requests are made, and the organization responds to them, according to how salient members of the public are as stakeholders at a given time and place. Using case study examples from the UK, I illustrate the channels of engagement, the public interest groups that do engage and how effective these procedures are. It follows from this that early, inclusive and open engagement with the objective of participation in decision-making processes are the most effective public participation models and have the greatest social quality potential.
Staying and leaving as tactics of life in Latvia
In the past 25 years, rural Latvia has become notably emptier. This emptying is the result of post-Soviet deindustrialization and large-scale outmigration, enabled by EU accession and exacerbated by the 2008 financial crisis. It is accompanied by lack of political protest, leading many to conclude that migration hinders political mobilization. Such conclusions derive from viewing leaving and staying as actions in relation to the state. Instead, leaving and staying should be viewed in relation to transnational forms of power. The people leaving the deindustrialized Latvian countryside to work in the English countryside are seeking futures past, namely, futures of stable employment and incremental prosperity. Those who stay in the emptying Latvian countryside create the future as a little bit more of the present.
Community, activism, and the "Big Society" in a Sussex town
This article interrogates the complex ways in which “community” is constructed in a Sussex town. It contributes to long-standing debates in anthropology about the meaning of community, considering the relevance of these to current policy agendas of localism and “Big Society.” The article opens with an account of apparently strong community resistance to changes induced from outside. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research, it goes on to argue that the ways in which people relate to this community are complex. The extent to which individuals engage in more or less formalized group activity and how this intersects with class, education, and mobility are important aspects of this complexity. The article finds that as some groups become more professionalized, processes of exclusion are consolidated: those who become most able to effect change ironically become distanced from the community they seek to represent.
Observers across Europe and the world were shocked when British voters decided in June 2016 to leave the European Union. Since the Brexit decision, British politics have been in disarray and the government’s incoherent negotiation positions have created much economic and political uncertainty. Germans and others have had to formulate policy based on assumptions and predictions. Despite slightly different emphases, all mainstream German parties have endorsed a harder line rejecting British efforts to cherry pick the most desirable aspects of a relationship with the EU. This stance accords with the preferences of European Union actors and the vast majority of member states. Moreover, the likely effects on the German economy will not be catastrophic. Thus, as much as Germans prefer that the UK remain in the EU, there is also little desire to accommodate British demands—and there may even be a sense of relief.
A Welfare State?
This article introduces the four components of social quality from the British perspective. The main issue that this article highlights is the difference between British and European social understandings of inclusion and social policy. Development of theory around the subject matter of the four components as equal sectors of social quality could help to progress the British agenda closer towards Europe to relate the individual and the community to the formation of collective identity.