Culture matters

Anglo-American relations and the intangibles of ‘specialness’

This book examines how intangible aspects of international relations – including identity, memory, representation, and symbolic perception – have helped to stimulate and sustain the Anglo-American special relationship. Drawing together world-leading and emergent scholars, this volume breaks new ground by applying the theories and methodologies of the ‘cultural turn’ in diplomatic history to the study of Anglo-American relations. It contends that matters of culture have been far more important to the special relationship than previously allowed in a field hitherto dominated by interest-based interpretations of American and British foreign policies. Fresh analyses of cultural symbols, discourses, and ideologies fill important gaps in our collective understanding of the special relationship’s operation and expose new analytical spaces in which we can re-evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Designed to breathe new life into old debates about the relationship’s purported specialness, this book offers a multidisciplinary exploration of literary representations, screen representations, political representations, representations in memory, and the roles of cultural connections and constructs that have historically influenced elite decision-making and sculpted popular attitudes toward and expectations of the special relationship. This book will be of particular interest to students and informed readers of Anglo-American relations, foreign policy, and diplomatic history, as well as all those who are interested in the power of culture to impact international relations.

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