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J. G. A. POCOCK
While publicists, some of them from what used to be the Left, have been celebrating the triumph of consumer capitalism and the end of history—that is to say, the death of the sovereign political community and the history it has made for itself—historians have been engaged in a reconstruction of ‘British history’. What this amounts to is an examination of the histories of the peoples inhabiting the archipelago as they have shaped these for themselves and shaped one another. The term ‘British’ sets up an emphasis on the English-dominated state and kingdom that has dominated these several histories, seeking to control and unify them, but the ‘new history’ recounts this story in ways calculated to problematize it.  Whether there has been such a thing as ‘British history’ is contestable; but the disposition—if you like, the bias—of this approach is towards supposing that the contest continues and is not over yet.
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