CIPSPOD · The Question of Englishness


In the latest in CIPS’ podcast series on international affairs, Srdjan Vucetic talks to political scientists Ailsa Henderson, Richard Wyn Jones, and Ben Wellings about Englishness. From conceptual and methodological issues to the Anglosphere and the upcoming Scottish election, we discuss what makes UK politics so contentious and its study so challenging. Plus we ask if the UK is heading for a breakup.

Ailsa Henderson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. She researches comparative political behaviour and political culture in sub-state regions as well as civic engagement. In addition to co-authoring Englishness: The Political Force Transforming Britain (Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2021) she has published five books and over 30 articles and book chapters, including Hierarchies of Belonging: National Identity and Political Culture in Scotland and Quebec (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007) and Nunavut: Rethinking Political Culture (UBC Press, 2007). Originally from Windsor, Ontario, she holds a BScSoc from uOttawa and was the Working Groups Chair for the Ontario Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reformin 2006-2007.


Richard Wyn Jones is Director, Wales Governance Centre and Dean of Public Affairs, Cardiff University, as well as a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and the Academy of the Social Sciences. He has written extensively on contemporary Welsh politics, devolved politics in the UK and nationalism and is considered to be one of the founders of Critical Security Studies in International Relations. With Henderson, he is the co-author of Englishness: The Political Force Transforming Britain (Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2021). In 2014, he spoke at CIPS on the (first) Scottish independence referendum and contributed a CIPS policy brief on the same topic.

Ben Wellings is a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at Monash University. He researches the links between English nationalism and Euroscepticism that lie behind Brexit, as well as nationalism in the European Union and the politics of war commemoration. He has worked in the House of Commons and for a public affairs company in Edinburgh advising clients on the impact of Scottish devolution, as an assistant curator at the National Museum of Australia and as a merchant seaman on the English Channel. He is the author of English Nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere: Wider still and wider (Manchester UK: Manchester University Press, 2019) and co-editor, with Andy Mycock, of The Anglosphere: Continuity, Dissonance and Location (Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, 2019).

Srdjan Vucetic is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA-ÉSAPI), uOttawa. His most recent publication is Greatness and Decline: National Identity and British Foreign Policy (McGill-Queen’s, 2021)