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210 × 148 × 15 mm
224 pages
6 illustrations
01 Aug 2007
  • £16.95

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Brit-Myth Who do the British think they are? Chris Rojek

Is Britain really perceived as a nation of poorly dressed, roast-beef-eating, snaggle-toothed xenophobes? Or do the British perhaps all live in stately homes, and lead supercilious, emotionally repressed, tea-drinking lives? In Brit-Myth, well-known social and cultural commentator Chris Rojek probes these and other myths, conceptions and misconceptions of Britishness, looking not only at how Britons see themselves, but also at how the British are seen overseas.

Moving easily between high and popular culture, from the myths of King Arthur and Albion to national opinion polls on ‘Great and Evil Britons’; and from Big Brother to films such as The Patriot and Austin Powers to international surveys of British national characteristics, Chris Rojek delineates the current state of Britishness in an age of multi-culturalism, multi-ethnicity and globalization.

Offering an antidote to both dry scholarly meditations on British identity, and nationalist rants in favour of the British, this book opens up a way of being British that transcends racism, highlights the importance of individualism and non-conformity to the British national character, and defends the proposition that the British are distinctive among nations.

Full of thought-provoking insights and engaging anecdotes, Brit-Myth will entertain both Anglophiles and Anglophobes as well as those who want to learn more about the land under the Union Jack.

‘. . . the sheer catholicism of its sources is thought-provoking, allowing the reader to engage with the multitudinous facets that are involved in the construction of national identity . . . a lively contribution on an urgent issue.’ — h-net reviews

‘ranges expertly and entertainingly over the fields of politics, history, and high and popular culture.’ — The Daily Yomiuri

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Chris Rojek is Professor of Sociology and Culture at Brunel University. He is the author of Celebrity (Reaktion Books, 2001) and Brit-Myth: Who Do the British Think They Are? (Reaktion, 2007).