The African presenceRepresentations of Africa in the construction of Britishness

The African presenceRepresentations of Africa in the construction of Britishness

Graham Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780719088858

Publisher: Manchester University Press

Abstract

This book considers the ways that representations of Africa have contributed to the changing nature of British national identity. It does so by developing the concept of the African presence: the ways that references to Africa have become part of discussions within British political culture about the place of Britain in the world. Using interviews, photo archives, media coverage, advertisements, and web material, the book focuses on major Africa campaigns: the abolition of slavery, anti-apartheid, drop the debt, and Make Poverty History. Using a hybrid theoretical framework based mainly around framing, the book argues that the representation of Africa has been mainly about imagining virtuous Britishness rather than generating detailed understandings of Africa. The book develops this argument through a historical review of 200 years of Africa campaigning. It also looks more closely at recent and contemporary campaigning, opening up new issues and possibilities for campaigning: the increasing use of consumer identities, electronic media, and aspects of globalization. This book will be of interest to anyone interested in postcolonial politics, relations between Britain and Africa, and development studies.