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Can the Monarchy be abolished?

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Introduction

Can the Monarchy be abolished? Can Britain fully embrace modernism and become a Republic with an elected Head of State? In order to reach a conclusion I want to consider what it is that "makes the British the last people in the modern world to be subject to the authentic forms of monarchy"(Hitchens, 1990: 6). A good place to begin would be to explore the original justifications for the monarchy . In the feudal age the dominant ideology was the great chain of being. People believed that they were appointed to their station in life by God. Mediaeval monarchs were believed to be God's representatives on earth who possessed special powers beyond the ordinary person. Such ideological beliefs protected the monarchy against envy. The monarch was not hated for his/her powers of authority and privileges. Zigmund Freud argued that the super-ego resolves the issue of envy by supplying an object for identification. So "'what was originally envy' is psychologically transformed into hero-worship. Envy is repressed from the consciousness and there is a 'reversal of what was first a hostile feeling into a positively toned tie in the nature of identification" (Billig, 1992: 117). ...read more.

Middle

By 1649 the newly rich bourgeoisie were competing to consecrate power and thus they cut off the King's head, justifying the act with the rantings of the Old Testament Prophets. Although the King could not be brought back to life from the grave the institution of the monarchy could, and by 1660 the Monarchy was restored, along with King Charles 11, because "the radical chaos of the 1640s and 1650s rendered this traditional social taxomony more appealing rather than less"( Cannadine, 2000 :26). Like the dead Primal father, who no longer visably ruled, the monarch no longer rules the nation with absolute power. It is her symbolic power, which most people believe is 'just an hamrless bit of fun', but maintains a certain kind of primitive national identity - one conducted through the language of images that enshrines the worst values of a semi-feudal class society. In Civillization and its Discontents(1930) Freud concluded that people identify themselves as members of a group by libido-attachment to an object taking place on a mass scale. Individuals put one and the same object in the place of the super-ego. They identify with one another in their ego. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a man without memory and self-knowledge is a man adrift, so a society without memory.... and self knowledge would be a society adrift.( 1970: 13) Following Marwick we can understand how the monarchy creates the myth a nation of great antiquity and thus Britain is a nation that can not be at drift. However, with the development of globalization, it is becoming increasingly difficult to define one nation's culture in relation to another because national boundaries are being eroded and thus to "remove the monarchy (would be to) remove the very thing which distinguishes this country from other countries". This was a ideological theme that was uncovered in Billig's (1992,:30) empircal study of the way people thought about the monarchy. Today, Britain has declined as a world power and the concept of Orientalism is no longer the dominant ideology. Instead, as (Billig, ibid: 55) points out,: This narcissism has changed. Narcissus is still looking into the pool, but he is too knowing to be fooled by his own reflection... Bent over the pool's edge, he sees something else. As he gazes down, Narcissus imagines the whole world looking up from the waters with envious admiration According to Billig the tourist argument is a rationalisation of for nationalist concepts. Britons want to believe that the whole world is gazing at as them . ...read more.

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