Postcolonial Wales

Postcolonial Wales

Postcolonial Wales

Postcolonial Wales

Synopsis

Questions, hypotheses, and concepts drawn from postcolonial theory are used to understand the culture and politics of postdevolution Wales in these essays. Beginning with discussions of how Wales, as a nation, has been understood historiographically, as well as historically, this analysis focuses on Welsh cultural differences in terms of literature, mass media, music, drama, and the visual arts.

Excerpt

Jane Aaron and Chris Williams

Is it feasible to think of Wales as postcolonial? in what ways, if any, does the concept of postcolonialism aid our understanding of Welsh cultural and political life? Such questions as these preoccupy the contributors to this volume, in which aspects of historical and contemporary Wales are viewed from perspectives coloured to a greater or lesser extent by the concept of postcolonialism. Its editors were alerted to the need for such a book by the often contradictory but always thought-provoking responses (from the general public, the media, politicians and academics) to the culture and politics of post-devolution Wales. the referendum vote on devolution in September 1997 was, of course, very close, and subsequent opinion polls, while recording popular acceptance of the existence of the National Assembly for Wales, have not suggested that the public views its activities to date with unqualified enthusiasm. Nationalist politics have waxed (1999 Assembly elections) and waned (2001 general election, 2003 local and European elections), and internal struggles over the place of the Welsh language in Plaid Cymru’s and the Labour Party’s strategies have recently resurfaced. the Assembly’s arguably inadequate responses to crises in the steel industry and in agriculture has raised the question of whether it needs more powers to function effectively, and its reputation has not been unaffected by scandal (‘Rongate’, ‘Germangate’).

At the same time its creation has, seemingly, boosted Welsh selfconfidence, particularly in cultural matters. the official transmission of authority to the Assembly in May 1999 was popularly celebrated as if it marked the coming into being of a liberated nation. Images associated with that evening’s concert of the red dragon in flames over Cardiff Bay, for example, or . . .

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