Rhetorics and reality: the historiography of British European policy, 1945-73
Daddow, Oliver J. (2000) Rhetorics and reality: the historiography of British European policy, 1945-73. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
Drawing on postmodern approaches to the practice of history, this thesis examines the historiography of British policy towards European integration since 1945. Its core argument is that historians are subject to a host of pressures. This argument is developed through analysis of seven factors which have influenced the writing of British European policy. Prime amongst them is the influence on historical interpretation of writers' sociological background. The thesis examines the change in the dominant group of writers in the field from politicians to professional historians. It is only in that context, it explains, that the competing interpretations placed on British European policy can be understood. From here, the six other factors at work on writers are examined: the level of analysis writers use to explain British foreign policy, the approach to intentions and outcomes in the international arena, the use of hindsight and empathy in the writing of history, myth-making in contemporary history, the use of sources and the type of study written.
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