© 2018

Four Nations Approaches to Modern 'British' History

A (Dis)United Kingdom?

  • Naomi Lloyd-Jones
  • Margaret M. Scull

About this book


This collection brings together leading and emerging scholars to evaluate the viability of four nations approaches to the history of the United Kingdom from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. It recognises the separate histories of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and explores the extent to which they share a common, ‘British’ history. They are entwined, with the points at which they interweave and detach dependent upon the nature of our inquiry, where we locate our ‘core’ and our ‘periphery’, and the ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ of our subject.

The collection demonstrates that four nations frameworks are relevant to a variety of topics and tests the limits of the methodology. The chapters illuminate the changing shape of modern British history writing, and provide fresh perspectives on subjects ranging from state governance, nationalism and Unionism, economics, cultural identities and social networking.


British Isles national identity Great Britain identity politics Acts of Union

Editors and affiliations

  • Naomi Lloyd-Jones
    • 1
  • Margaret M. Scull
    • 2
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.King’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

About the editors

Naomi Lloyd-Jones researches responses to Irish Home Rule in Britain.

Margaret M. Scull writes on the Catholic Church during the Northern Irish Troubles.

They are both based at King's College London, UK, and are co-founders of the Four Nations History Network.

Bibliographic information


“In this timely edited collection, Naomi Lloyd-Jones, Margaret M. Scull and their contributors vividly convey the complexity of the entity known as Britain. Focusing on the modern era, they depict the distinct but interrelated nature of its different national components. An essential read both for historians and all those who wish to trace the roots of post-devolution Britain.” (Andrew Blick, King’s College London, UK)

“This innovative collection brings vital new perspectives to a range of debates within 'Four Nations'  history whilst reengaging with the challenging issues raised by the 'new British history'. The work of its contributors sum up to a compelling reflection on historical relations within and across these islands.” (Richard Bourke, Queen Mary University of London, UK)

“The editors’ introduction makes the case for re-invigorating a ‘four-nations’ approach to the history of these islands over the past three centuries in terms of what we might gain by turning the destabilising and thought-provoking potential of comparative history inward upon the islands’ peoples – peoples who of course also interacted, sometimes with immediately disruptive effects upon each other’s narratives and practices. The uniformly thoughtful and engaging chapters that follow reflect upon and illustrate some of the manifold ways in which this agenda might be pursued. Though pointing up potential problems, insofar as neither ‘nations’ nor the archipelago are always ideal units of analysis, the contributors develop a variety of strategies to circumvent these constraints and to reveal the agenda’s rich potential.” (Joanna Innes, University of Oxford, UK)