Welshing on Postcolonialism
: Complicity and Resistance in the Construction of Welsh Identities

  • Owain Llyr Ap Gareth

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis places Wales within a postcolonial framework, and uses postcolonial theory to analyse the emergence of Welsh identities. Positioning ‘Wales’ and the ‘Welsh’ as subjects of study in relation to the British Empire suggests how discursive processes of power in Wales take place parallel to those in other areas of the Empire. In analysing these processes, the thesis illustrates the different effects of power in different local contexts. Welsh identities are shown as emerging and being produced by these discursive processes, and are found to be often resistant and complicit with dominant discourses in the same movement.

In the central chapters of the thesis, the emergence of Welsh identities is analysed with reference to particular discourses and events: education, ritual, literary criticism and popular culture. These are, in Chapter 1, the Blue Books controversy; in Chapter 2, the investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1911 and again in 1969; and, finally, in Chapter 3,the construction of different theories of literary criticism and the role of play and authenticity in Welsh popular culture.

Using the work of Michel Foucault, the thesis rejects the notion of an original and essential Welsh identity and takes power to be fluid and productive of subjects. Various articulations of Welsh identity appear as dynamic, hybrid and linked to particular discourses, allowing us to understand the emergence of such identities without reference to a pre-given Welsh identity
Date of Award20 Feb 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJenny Edkins (Supervisor) & Richard Llywelyn Wyn Jones (Supervisor)


  • identities
  • popular culture

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