Based on fine-grained ethnographic research in an English city, this book offers a highly original perspective on England’s contemporary political predicament. It argues that some of the most influential academic accounts of the country's current political situation, particularly those focusing on culture or racism, have neglected the key role of nationalism as an often unspoken, banal political principle and framing ideology. Suggesting that economic inequalities remain the key causal ingredient of English political life and, crucially, that these are being interpreted by individuals in relation to a nationalist/cosmopolitan ideological axis, the author argues that any effective, progressive political future will require a reinvigorated sense of political community. Proposing a politics that will promote both nationhood and cosmopolitanism, Nationalism, Inequality and England’s Political Predicament advocates a seemingly contradictory but necessary approach by which explicitly anti-nationalist and anti-racist principles coexist expediently alongside short-term protectionist and immigration control policies.
Introduction: explaining England’s political predicament 1. Contemporary nationalist politics in England: inequalities, culture and racism 2. Researching nationhood, nationalism and politics 3. Feeling overlooked: economic precariousness and political outlooks 4. Nationalist politics among the overlooked 5. Affluence, politics and place 6. Nationalism, cosmopolitanism and nationscepticism among the more affluent and mobile 7. Conclusion: nationhood, cosmopolitanism and England’s political future Appendix 1: Interview guide Appendix 2: Guide to the study’s interview participants