Over the best part of two millennia, notions of Welsh identity have ebbed and flowed but the desire to ensure the retention and survival of Welshness has stayed.
In this wide-ranging and scholarly new book from the IWA, Harold Carter, sometime Gregynog professor of Human Geography at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, looks at what constitutes identity and at the remarkable achievement of the Welsh in withstanding cultural assimilation into their much bigger neighbour. The book examines the importance of language as a marker for identity and the dilemma it poses in the Welsh context. It also engages with religion, myths and memories, as well as more modern symbols such as Wales’s growing range of national institutions.
Changes in the way the Welsh people perceive their identity, the somewhat ambivalent attitude of the nation’s capital, Cardiff, and the impact of globalisation and multiculturalism on Welsh identity are all considered. Finally, it judges the prospects and the requirements for the Welsh carrying forward a renewed sense of their coherence as a people.