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Town twinning in Cold-War Britain: (Dis)continuities in twentieth-century municipal internationalism

By Nick Clarke

Abstract

This paper draws on correspondence and other material in the National Archives at Kew, London to provide an historical narrative of town twinning in Cold-War Britain. In doing so, it supplements a literature on town twinning that has little to say about international municipal partnerships involving British localities. It also supplements a literature on municipal internationalism that tends to focus on either municipal connections around the turn of the twentieth century or the perceived ‘new localism’ of the last few decades. The argument developed is that twentieth-century municipal internationalism was shaped in Britain by continuities of desire and interest at the local level, and discontinuities of opportunity at the national and international levels. Various models of town twinning became available to British localities after the Second World War. During the Cold War, the British Government intervened in the availability of some of these models, not least because of fears about Communist penetration through town twinning. By the late 1970s, such intervention had ensured that town twinning in Britain was associated with civic and cultural exchanges within Western Europe

Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:157717
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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