Friday, October 11, 2013

He does not feel particularly English

Sunder Katawala (Director of British Future sic) directs our attention to a short article written by the Cambridge Blogger on the subject of feeling English (or rather how he does not feel particularly English):

And then one notices that the author of the piece is Joe Devanny, which is (as the surname research department of Leicester University will tell you) an Irish name.

Is it possible that Mr Devanny does not feel English because his family is not in fact English?

Of course, there is no knowing how many generations the Devanny family has lived in England.

We do know however that English people have lived in Ireland for centuries without their families being accepted as "Irish".  They developed a local affinity and an Anglo-Irish culture and the English called them Irish (although the Irish called them English, or in the north British).  But did they "feel" Irish in the same way that Connemara potato-eaters felt Irish? - I think not.

Each family contains within itself a micro-culture (attitudes, beliefs, perceptions about the outside world) and transmits that culture from one generation to the next.  Family micro-cultures mutate over the generations, but we do not yet know how they mutate and how much remains constant.  It is interesting to speculate whether the constant element in a family micro-culture will transmit itself over hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years (if I forget thee oh Jerusalem may my right hand lose its cunning).

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