Is it possible to speak of an English Culture?

Essay by charlie_jUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, December 2003

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What is it that defines "Englishness"? From creating empires, tea on the lawn, days at the races, keeping a stiff upper limit, Shakespeare, Queen Victoria, thatched country cottages to bingo; is this is a true reflection of Englishness or merely another contrived example of packaged heritage, harking back to an Englishness that perhaps never was. What signs are there today in the English nation of great traditions, empire building, and the pioneering spirit? If you are English how do you feel about being English in the new millennium? If you are not English what are your perceptions of Englishness? Do they differ from your perceptions before you arrived in England? With such a broad subject to cover the following areas need to be considered: The imagery of Englishness, the sound of Englishness and the language.

What immediately springs to mind when considering "Englishness"? Ask most people and the response you are likely to get will be similar to the following list: cricket, patriotism, tea, class, public school, bowler hats, sexual repression and the village green.

This list consists of things that are often considered to be typically English. However it does not apply to the majority of the population. It is old fashioned and male gendered, it is a constructed image. It does not take into account that 51% of the population is female. An image such as this is chosen for a reason rather than originating from any factual basis. It is a particular point of view, the dominant ideology of the ruling class. So in light of this the question to be asked is why do people who are not part of the dominant class take on these notions and feel proud to be English, especially when it is unlikely that they...