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Introduction

Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Political Sociology book series (PSEPS)

Abstract

The title of this volume points to the sense that Gibraltarians are not quite as British as they might appear to be at first sight and to raise an interrogative glance at the assumption that their Britishness is somehow given rather than having evolved over time. It also refers to a physical border between Gibraltar and Spain that has created an increased sense of shared identity, a “deep territorialisation” (Haller, Gelebte Grenze Gibraltar: Transnationalismus, Lokalität und Identität in kulturanthropologischer Perspektive. Wiesbaden: Deutscher Universitäts-Verlag, 2000: 79), and the creation of a hitherto non-existent national identity and national consciousness. The border is experienced bodily through the frustrations and petty harassments that typify a border crossing and these experiences produce and reinforce a disidentification with Spain and all things Spanish. Over time, the economic and political advantages of being on one side of the border as well as growing anti-Spanishness have been converted into pro-Britishness as Gibraltarians asserted their difference from the people on the other side. There is no denying the deep feelings of Gibraltarians but such sentiments are not simply emotional responses to events but also pragmatic ones: the border and Britishness have represented economic and political security, the two pillars of British Gibraltarian identity. Both of these pillars will be rudely shaken by Brexit.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of EssexColchesterUK

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