These Englands

A conversation on national identity

Edited by Arthur Aughey

These Englands


  • Paperback
  • eBook
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7960-3
  • Pages: 336
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: January 2012
  • BIC Category: Nationalism, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism & Patriotism, Society & social sciences / Nationalism


The term 'conversation' is one of today's jargon terms. This book explores in depth what conversation means in national terms. Its premise is that to be English is to participate in a conversation about the country's history, politics, culture and society. The conversation changes, of course, but there is also continuity which illustrates a distinct tradition. It is a conversation, the book argues, which requires the plural notion of these Englands rather than the singularity of this England. Englishness, then, is the tone, register and idiom of it subject matters, its anxieties and certainties, differences and commonalities. The book explores the English conversation through historical, political, literary and popular voices and tries to identify the character of contemporary Englishness.


A most thoughtful set of essays offering 'intimations' of that most nebulous thing, English national identity. They approach this will-o-the-wisp from several directions - sociological, political, literary - and together weave a conversation of an Oakeshottian kind, intellectual as well as pleasing. Indeed, the claim of the editors that England cannot be grasped in definitions, manifestos and deductions but only in an open-ended conversational flow seems most apt.


Krishan Kumar: Preface
Section one: Englishness in discourse and opinion
1: Susan Condor, sense & sensibility: the conversational etiquette of english national self-identification
2: John Curtice, is the English lion ready to roar?
3: Paul Thomas, all white? Englishness, 'race' and ethnic identities
4: Chris Bryant, towards a cosmopolitan england?
Section two: Englishness in politics and institutions
5: Stephen Ingle, conservatives and Englishness: A conversation between party and nation
6: Matthew Beech, the left and Englishness
7: Simon Lee, Gordon Brown and the negation of England
8: Philip Norton, the Englishness of Westminster
9: Colin Copus, Englishness and local government: Reflecting a nation's past or merely an administrative convenience?
Section three: Englishness in history and imagination
10: Julia Stapleton, faith, people & place: the English union in the writings of arthur mee and G.K. Chesterton
11: Gary Day, the changing face of englishness: history, culture and character
12: Patrick Parrinder, from Hardy to Larkin: Poets and novelists in national conversation
Christine Berberich & Arthur Aughey, Afterword


Arthur Aughey is Professor of Politics at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. Christine Berberich is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Portsmouth.

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