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The Aural and Moral Idylls of “Englishness” and Folk Music

Symbolic Interaction

Published online on


The idea of “Englishness” is explored as an historical social construction that is subject to ongoing negotiation. Important features of “Englishness” are embedded in the sacralized symbolism of the “rural idyll,” which represents traditional English values. “Landscapes” and “soundscapes” are utilized to construct personal and national identities in periods of “revivalism.” By viewing English folk music through an interactionist framework, responses to the music build upon earlier collective works that have shaped traditional song. “Englishness” is problematized as either an inclusive, or exclusive, identity. Ideational artifacts thus provide a foundation for social action.1