Introduction: Nation and Class in Twenty-First-Century Britain

For more than a decade we have been researching and writing on questions of national identity, and English identities in particular (Fenton 2007, 2012; Fenton and Mann 2011; Mann 2006, 2011, 2012; Mann and Fenton 2009, 2014). Drawing on fieldwork carried out in England we have stressed the importance of considering popular sentiments of the nation—of attending to what so-called ordinary people have to say about nation and country, rather than elites, intellectuals, politicians or nationalist leaders. By paying close attention to what people say about the nation, we have argued that national identities should not be examined separately from wider material contexts. People do have anxieties about the state of the nation, and these anxieties are deeply connected to changes in class structure and material conditions. During the same period, scholarly interest in national identities within Britain has flourished across historical, political and social sciences. This includes a growing concern with the varied meanings of national belonging for ordinary citizens. Given the breadth of scholarship in this area, including our own, it is time to take stock.

© The Author(s) 2017

R. Mann, S. Fenton, Nation, Class and Resentment, DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-46674-7_1

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