Penn State

Colin Flint - Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Enchanted Glass: Britain and Its Monarchy

Author: Tom Nairn

Book Description:

I read this book as an undergraduate and have re-read it many times. It illuminates anew upon each reading. Nairn's book is both an intellectual and a political challenge. It struggles to understand the political structures behind Britain's support for its monarchy and the political implications. It is a warning to social scientists not to follow the path of the majority who "laugh off" the monarchy as a harmless anachronism. Rather, it shows us that the "laughing off" is itself a political strategy that keeps vested interests protected from critique. Obviously, this tactic of avoiding scientific critique extends beyond the British and their monarchy. Moreover, The Enchanted Glass is an engagement with a larger and most serious process; nationalism. As nationalism still continues to motivate hatred and killing, and a hierarchy of difference and superiority, it is essential that we all reflect upon how constructed national differences fragment humanity with tragic consequences.


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