Monday, May 04, 2009

Two Books on Popular Anthropology

Watching the English by Kate Fox is a classic book about the way that English people act and what it means to be English. I know quite a few foreigners living in the UK who have found this book immensely helpful. I've even found it helpful for understanding something of why I am the way I am...

The biggest problem I've found with this book is that it focuses almost entirely on southern England, and claims that to be English. Of course, there are lots of similarities, but also some important differences. An example would be the talking on buses rule, which is quite clearly different in the North.

 

A much better book for showing awareness of the North of England is Pies and Prejudice by Stuart Maconie.

A Radio 2 DJ, who is from Wigan originally, Maconie gives us a guide to some of the scenes, sights and peculiarities of the North, touring all of the cities and a sampling of the big towns of the North on the way, along with a fair few anecdotes from his own life.

Great fun, and a nice reminder of the North, as well as helping me get to know a bit about the areas I haven't spent much time.

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