Chapter

Dead centre of inertia

Arthur Aughey

in The Politics of Englishness

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780719068720
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701300 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719068720.003.0004
Dead centre of inertia

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This chapter examines the legend of disintegration, one of the most politically influential expressions of the notion of political Englishness, which charts England's loss of supposed self-possession. It traces the influence of this legend in the debate about English identity and explains that this narrative synthesises two apparently contradictory developments: nationalism; and a new, post-imperial, global framework for politics. The wide appeal of this legend can be attributed to the fact that it provided a compelling explanation of British circumstances in the late twentieth century. In this legend, the English idiom represented nothing but the suffocation of political and cultural possibilities.

Keywords: legend of disintegration; political Englishness; self-possession; English identity; narrative; nationalism; English idiom

Chapter.  7958 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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