The Idea of English Ethnicity

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9781405101295: The Idea of English Ethnicity

In this major contribution to debates about English identity, leading theorist Robert J.C. Young argues that Englishness was never really about England at all. In the nineteenth century, it was rather developed as a form of long-distance identity for the English diaspora around the world. Young shows how the effects of this continue to reverberate today, nationally and globally.


  • Written by an internationally established theorist, whose work has been translated into 20 languages
  • Shows how potent the idea of Englishness is
  • Helps to explain why the UK continues to act as if it has a ‘special relationship’ to the US
  • Helps to explain why the UK is so successfully multicultural
  • Part of the prestigious Blackwell Manifestos series

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In recent years there have been many attempts to identify exactly what constitutes Englishness. In this major contribution to the debate, Young argues that Englishness was developed as a form of long-distance nationalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It served as an ethnic identity for those who were precisely not English, but rather made up the English diaspora around the world: Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans. Englishness was constructed as a translatable quality or identity that could be taken on or appropriated anywhere.

From the Back Cover:

In recent years, particularly since devolution in the UK, there have been many attempts to identify what exactly Englishness really involves. In this major contribution to debates about English identity, leading cultural theorist Robert J. C. Young argues that the recent uncertainty about the nature of the English arises from more than just the challenges of devolution, or even the end of empire. It is rather the long-term result of the fact that in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Englishness was never really about England, the place, its essence, or its national character, at all. It was rather developed as a form of ethnic identity for those who were precisely not English, but rather made up the English diaspora around the world, Americans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans.

Englishness was constructed as a translatable quality or identity that could be taken on or appropriated by anyone anywhere – which is why the most English Englishmen have rarely been English. This construction was so powerful that even today the English diaspora continues to act together at a political level around the globe. In England itself, this meant that being English was characterized through an open structure of inclusion rather than exclusion, which helps to explain why the country has been able to transform itself into one of the most successful of modern multicultural nations.

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Robert J. C. Young
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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised.. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this major contribution to debates about English identity, leading theorist Robert J.C. Young argues that Englishness was never really about England at all. In the nineteenth century, it was rather developed as a form of long-distance identity for the English diaspora around the world. Young shows how the effects of this continue to reverberate today, nationally and globally. * Written by an internationally established theorist, whose work has been translated into 20 languages * Shows how potent the idea of Englishness is * Helps to explain why the UK continues to act as if it has a special relationship to the US * Helps to explain why the UK is so successfully multicultural * Part of the prestigious Blackwell Manifestos series. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9781405101295

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised.. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this major contribution to debates about English identity, leading theorist Robert J.C. Young argues that Englishness was never really about England at all. In the nineteenth century, it was rather developed as a form of long-distance identity for the English diaspora around the world. Young shows how the effects of this continue to reverberate today, nationally and globally. * Written by an internationally established theorist, whose work has been translated into 20 languages * Shows how potent the idea of Englishness is * Helps to explain why the UK continues to act as if it has a special relationship to the US * Helps to explain why the UK is so successfully multicultural * Part of the prestigious Blackwell Manifestos series. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9781405101295

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Book Description John Wiley and Sons Ltd, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In this major contribution to debates about English identity, leading theorist Robert J.C. Young argues that Englishness was never really about England at all. In the nineteenth century, it was rather developed as a form of long-distance identity for the English diaspora around the world. Young shows how the effects of this continue to reverberate today, nationally and globally. * Written by an internationally established theorist, whose work has been translated into 20 languages * Shows how potent the idea of Englishness is * Helps to explain why the UK continues to act as if it has a special relationship to the US * Helps to explain why the UK is so successfully multicultural * Part of the prestigious Blackwell Manifestos series. Bookseller Inventory # BZV9781405101295

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