England as an Imagined Community—Myths, Ideas, and Politics
This chapter supplies an overview of the contents of the book. It also identifies the influence and interpretative limitations of various clichés and canards about the English, and assesses the prevalence in characterizations of this form of nationhood of: a particularistic strain of cultural conservatism; a progressive scepticism towards its merits and implications; and a residual loyalty to an Anglo-British form of nationality. It also points to the centrality of the question of whether Englishness is compatible with cultural diversity to debates about its political provenance, and observes the impact of a residual set of mythologies in anchoring different forms of English self-understanding. The chapter closes with a discussion of questions of conceptual terminology.
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