Thomas, Paul (2012) All White? Englishness, ‘Race’ and Ethnic Identities In ‘These Englands: A conversation on national identity’ Edited by Arthur Aughey and Christine Berberich, Manchester: Manchester University Press. In: These Englands: A conversation on national identity’. Manchester University Press, Manchester. ISBN 9780719079610

As the previous chapters of this book chart, debates and arguments over the meaning/s and relevance of ‘Englishness’ have grown steadily over the past twelve years, running in tandem with the emerging ‘facts on the ground’ of New Labour’s devolution policies and the significant movement in public attitudes that have accompanied them. The new political realities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have inevitably shifted attention towards Englishness, to what it means and how much people living in England identify with it, in comparison to the over-arching ‘British’ identity now perceived to be under serious threat. Debates about national identity have the dangerous potential to become racialised and exclusionary, especially at a time when a far-right party, the British National Party, has made significant political advances, The current ‘conversations’ about Englishness have also been triggered by mainstream political and media discourses questioning the national identity and loyalty of non-White British (and English) citizens at a very basic level. This chapter aims to discuss the meaning/s of Englishness for non-White ethnic minorities in the context of wider political debates and developments around multiculturalism, citizenship and Community Cohesion and offers thoughts about the potential for genuinely inclusive and non-racial understandings of Englishness taking greater hold than at present.

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