In her theory, Greenfeld identifies three phases in the formation of specific nationalisms: Structural, Cultural and Psychological. In the last phase (psychological) she argues that usually the emergence of national identity is accompanied by resentment, which leads to an emphasis on the elements of indigenous tradition, and in turn hostility towards the principles of the original nationalism (the imported ideas). In turn, in her study of French nationalism she points to the resentment that existed (or was created) against England, which in turn implied that any association with the English was seen as anti-nationalist. Keeping this argument in mind, then it should come as no surprise to see a lot of opposition to the new Anglo-French military sharing deal from both sides of the Channel. Surprisingly, however, there is far less French opposition to the deal than it is British.
An opinion poll conducted by the Financial Times before the deal was signed by the two governments shows that more than a third of the British public oppose sharing military resources with another country, which is in stark contrast to the French figure of only 13 per cent. Moreover, the French figure for the supporters of military sharing is almost double that of the British. These figures, in turn, could be linked to the general opposition in the British media and public to the idea of a European army or anything that might lead to that, however, they do also represent a turn of events. Whereas Greenfeld identified the resentment to the English as one of the main features of French nationalism, it seems that now it is the British who are becoming protective of their national interests against the French and the EU in general.
- How is this turn of events explained according to Greenfeld’s theory? Can the resentment of the British public to military sharing and the EU in general lead to a new British nationalism which would cause a break away from the EU?
Ref: Blitz, J. (2010), “Military sharing plan finds resistance”, Financial Times, November 1, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/d6c63a7e-e5ec-11df-af15-00144feabdc0.html#axzz14tpbgNRM