Dr Ruth Adams recently gave a paper at a symposium at the University of Derby on Monday 25 March 2013. The title of the event was ‘Nationalism, Identity and Belief’, and the topic of Ruth’s presentation was ‘Subcultures and National Identity: The Sex Pistols and “English Heritage”.’ The paper examined the use of English history and symbolism by the Sex Pistols, the first, and arguably the most influential and definitive of British punk bands. It discussed whether the challenge they posed to conventional, Establishment notions of Englishness has had a lasting impact, and considered whether the Pistols had helped to create opportunities for a genuine reframing and re-imagining of English identity and culture, or whether they had now just been absorbed into a hegemonic nationalist history? Ruth suggested that their appearance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics last year could be seen as evidence for both sides of the argument.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Daniel Trilling, an assistant editor of the New Statesman and author of the book Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right. Other delegates gave papers on English television comedy, and issues of identity and nationalism in Israel, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Italy and Belgium.
You can find more details about the conference here: www.derby.ac.uk/events/nationalism-identity-and-belief-a-one-day-symposium.