New book on Englishness in music published

Performing Englishness asks what the recent resurgence of the English folk arts can tell us about contemporary English identity.

This week sees the publication of Performing Englishness, a co-authored book by Simon Keegan-Phipps and Trish Winter of the University of Sunderland. The book – subtitled Identity and politics in a contemporary folk resurgence – charts the 21st century rise of English folk music and dance, and considers how the resurgence speaks to a broader explosion of interest in the subject of English national and cultural identity. How does contemporary English folk music and dance relate to ideas about England and Englishness? What kinds of English identities are expressed through the works of musicians like Seth Lakeman or Bellowhead? How does morris dancing contribute to ongoing political debates around multiculturalism, globalisation, and the devolution of the British nations? And how does the English folk scene reconcile a new-found commercial success with anti-capitalist roots?

The book is the culmination of a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is published by Manchester University Press.

As part of the Off the Shelf festival, Simon recently discussed the book as part of the Ideas Alive at 5.45 series.