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Englishness as class: A re-examination

Arthur Aughey
Ethnicities
Vol. 12, No. 4, Special Issue: Class, nation and racism in England and Britain (August 2012), pp. 394-408
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43572632
Page Count: 15
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Abstract

This paper considers the significance of class to English national identity. It takes one systematic exposition of the argument that Englishness has been traditionally and intimately bound up with class: George Schopflin's essay Englishness: citizenship, ethnicity and class, published in 2000. Schopflin thought that Englishness was distinctive in European terms by its class rather than its ethnic character and that this provided people with a very secure and very stable identity, though he did observe a more ethnicised form of identity emerging at the beginning of the new millennium. This is a strong definition of Englishness as class and the paper reassesses its claims in terms of recent research on identity. It argues for a more nuanced understanding of the role of class but suggests that the modus vivendi of English class relations still distinguishes its identity within Europe and the United Kingdom.

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