Introduction: These Englands - A Conversation on National Identity

Arthur Aughey*, Christine Berberich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter introduces the diversity of reflection on Englishness in a number of stages. It considers that distinctive manner of discussing national identity that often comes in the form and shape of 'listing'. The chapter attempts to show how that diversity also involves a common reference to England. 'Versions' of England are particularly apparent when reading contemporary travel writing on and about England. The chapter tries to complete the picture by adapting two ideas from the work of the English philosopher Michael Oakeshott. The first of these is the metaphor of the 'dry wall' which was originally used to explain the character of historical change. The second is the idea of politics as conversation. Conversation has been termed Oakeshott's 'great image' where the human condition is nothing other than people 'acting and speaking in response to one another'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThese Englands
Subtitle of host publicationA Conversation on National Identity
EditorsArthur Aughey, Christine Berberich
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-7190-9500-9, 978-1-8477-9496-3
ISBN (Print)978-0-7190-7960-3, 978-0-7190-7961-0
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2016


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