In Part II, we provide a series of ethnographic and historical studies that help to decentre British governance. In Chapter 1, we argued that people in identical situations could hold different beliefs, so an interpretive approach must explore the ways in which social practices are created, sustained and transformed. Ethnographers reconstruct the meanings of social actors by recovering other people’s stories (see, for example, Geertz 1973: chapter 1; 1983; Taylor 1971: 32-3). Thus, we follow Hammersley and Atkinson in making the basic claim for ethnography that ‘it captures the meaning of everyday human activities’ (1983: 2). Fenno argues, ‘the aim is to see the world as they see it, to adopt their vantage point on politics’ (1990: 2). Ethnography encompasses many ways of collecting qualitative data about beliefs and practices. For example, Cris Shore’s (2000: 7-11) cultural analysis of how EU elites sought to build Europe uses participant observation, historical archives, textual analysis of official documents, biographies, oral histories, recorded interviews and informal conversations as well as statistical and survey techniques. We use a similar battery of methods.1