Centre for English Identity and Politics
Exploring the relationship between a growing sense of English identity and the development of local and national politics in England.View content
The Centre for English Identity and Politics has been established to explore the relationship between a growing sense of English identity and the development of local and national politics in England.
Over recent decades, more and more English residents have described being ‘English’ as the main or an important part of their identity. Over the same period, many writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers have explored the idea of Englishness, and interest in and the study of English history have grown.
The rise in English identity is both shaping and being shaped by politics. Devolution to cities and counties, procedures in the House of Commons, the English debate about the European Union, responses to Welsh and Scottish devolution, and the organisation of political parties in England are all reflecting English concerns. There is currently no settled English identity.
The Centre is developing a cross-disciplinary programme of lectures, seminars, conferences and cultural events. These will increase our understanding of the forces driving English identity and develop ideas for how it can be inclusive and forward-looking.
The Centre for English Identity and Politics is part of the University's Department of Politics and Society.
Meet the Director
Meet the Winchester academics associated with the Centre for English Identity and Politics:
- Prof. Jude Davies, Professor of American Literature and Culture
- Dr Carolin Esser-Miles, Senior Lecturer in English Linguistics and Forensic Studies
- Dr Neil Ewen, Lecturer in Media and Communication
- Dr Gary Farnell, Senior Lecturer in English
- Dr Carey Fleiner, Senior Lecturer in Classical and Medieval History
- Dr Debra Gray, Reader in Psychology
- Dr Michael Jardine, Head of Department of English, Creative Writing and American Studies
- Dr Ryan Lavelle, Reader in Early Medieval History / Convenor, Wessex Centre for History and Archaeology
- Prof. Bill Lucas, Director, Centre for Real-World Learning / Trustee, The English Project
- Prof. Neil McCaw, Professor of Victorian Literature and Culture
- Prof. Christopher Mulvey, Emeritus Professor of English/ Trustee, The English Project
- Thomas Nørgaard, Senior Lecturer in Liberal Arts / Director, Institute for Value Studies
- Dr Craig Prescott, Lecturer in Law / Director, Centre for Parliament and Public Law
- Dr William Sheward, Senior Lecturer in Politics and Global Studies
19 Sept 2018: The Past and Future of Labour England
Eight out of ten citizens in England identify strongly as English. Since Michael Foot and Tony Benn championed its radical tradition forty years ago, England has been absent from the language of Labour politics. Although devolution means England and the other nations of the UK are governed differently there has been no serious discussion of English political representation on the left. Indeed, for many in Labour’s ruling circles from Kinnock to Corbyn, Englishness is conservative, parochial and racist, out of kilter with supposedly dynamic, inclusive and multicultural Britain, and so best ignored. It’s hardly surprising that people who identify as predominantly English feel alienated from Labour.
The aim of the workshop was to initiate an intellectual project to further an inclusive, left of centre English politics. It brought together a group of scholars, political commentators and political leaders, to think about the relationship between Labour and England in the past, present and future.
The central theme was the relationship between identity and political power. Recognising that political languages shift quickly, we traced the way England has (and has not) figured in the Labour and the left’s attitudes and practices in the past; analysed the state of things now, and traced possible paths towards a reconciliation between Labour and England in the future.
Speakers included Anthony Barnett, John Denham, David Edgerton, Sunder Katwala, Tariq Modood, Colm Murphy, Nick Pearce, Anna Rowlands, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite, Jonathan Rutherford and Jon Wilson.
On 25 June 2018, Prof. John Denham was invited by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow MP, to address the Speaker’s House on the results of the recent YouGov survey for the BBC on English identity. The high-profile survey, in which Prof. Denham was instrumental, highlighted the importance of recognising ‘English’ identity as strongly held and the most widely shared.
- Read an edited version of Prof. Denham’s speech
- Watch the full speech on BBC iPlayer
- Read the BBC article
For 2017 news, click HERE.