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Watching the English

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781444785203

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 23rd October 2014

Genre: Society & Social Sciences / Society & Culture: General

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‘Brilliant and hilarious’ GRAYSON PERRY
‘Absolutely brilliant’ JENNIFER SAUNDERS, THE TIMES
‘A delightful read’ SUNDAY TIMES
‘An entertaining, clever book’ TELEGRAPH

The international bestseller and unofficial guidebook to the English national character by anthropologist Kate Fox.

Have you ever been unable to explain the idiosyncrasies of English humour, bizarre mobile-phone etiquette, or the endless obsession with class? In this classic bestselling book, social anthropologist Kate Fox puts a nation under a microscope. The result is a biting, affectionate, insightful and often hilarious look at the English in all our glory.

Based on extensive field-research, experiments and observations, Fox deciphers a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and bizarre codes of behaviour. She uncovers the roots of English self-mockery and demystifies peculiar cultural features such as ‘weather-speak’, class anxiety tests, the paranoid pantomime rule and the apology reflex. If you’re English, this book will help you understand yourself and your fellow countrymen in a new way. And if you aren’t English, you’ll finally understand why we talk about the weather so much.

A worldwide bestseller, translated into multiple languages, and a set text for university anthropology courses, Watching the English is a timeless classic on the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people.


Kate Fox's brilliant idea is to treat the British as another tribe...where she's particularly astute is in examining the exact pattern of clichés. Any study of the English must cover our class obsession, and Fox deals with the subject thoroughly.
Harry Mount, author of How England Made the English
If you like this kind of anthropology (and I do) there is a wealth of it to enjoy in this book. Her observations are acute... fortunately she doesn't write like an anthropologist but like an English woman - with amusement, not solemnity, able to laugh at herself as well as us.
Daily Mail
I loved the section on mobile-phone etiquette. Shrewd...I liked the chapter on English humour. This is an entertaining, clever book. Do read it and then pass it on.
She has not only compiled a comprehensive list of English qualities, she has examined them in depth and wondered how we came to acquire them. Her book is a delightful read.
Sunday Times
An absolutely brilliant examination of English culture and how foreigners take as complete mystery the things we take for granted.
Jennifer Saunders, The Times
Brilliant and hilarious
Grayson Perry
I read it cover to cover in a few days . . . very sharp and witty prose. It really is funny - the sort of humour that makes you laugh out loud on your own!
Martin Parr, Vice
She is the only popular UK anthropologist of substance since the 1970s.
Jeremy MacClancy, Professor of Anthropology, Oxford Brookes University
She's a witty and eloquent writer whose accessible book reads as a scholarly classification of our shared codes of behaviour and an affectionate homage to our foibles.
It is consistently the most popular text I teach, not only because it's a hilarious page-turner but also because Fox offers truly insightful glimpses into what a sophisticated anthropological mindset can reveal about human cultural life . . . Watching the English embodies the anthropological credo of making the strange familiar and the familiar strange.
Bianca Dahl, Professor of Anthropology, University of Toronto