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The Politics of English Nationhood$
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Michael Kenny

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608614.001.0001

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Englishness as a Mass Phenomenon

Englishness as a Mass Phenomenon

Evidence and Interpretation

(p.78) 3 Englishness as a Mass Phenomenon
The Politics of English Nationhood

Michael Kenny

Oxford University Press

Chapter 3 assesses the plethora of evidence, generated by multiple surveys and numerous research studies, into popular attitudes towards Englishness. It charts the growing realization among commentators that a backlash against devolution had not taken root among the English, as had widely been predicted, but also charts a more recent rise in the salience and prevalence of English nationhood. These findings are cross-fertilized with insights into how ‘the nation’ is understood in everyday settings offered by a number of recent qualitative studies. Based upon these different sources, the chapter points to several distinct, politically resonant forms of Englishness that have taken root at the popular level. These comprise a populist vernacular of English nationalism, an embedded, conservative sense of Englishness and attempts to revive a liberal idea of England in the form of a multicultural recasting of the national identity.

Keywords:   opinion surveys, English backlash, devolution, qualitative research, class, age, ethnicity, populism, Conservatism, Liberalism

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