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  • Hodder & Stoughton

Watching the English

Kate Fox

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Prose: non-fiction, Social & cultural history, Anthropology

The hardback bestseller now in paperback: 'An entertaining and clever book. Do read it.' -

In WATCHING THE ENGLISH anthropologist Kate Fox takes a revealing look at the quirks, habits and foibles of the English people. She puts the English national character under her anthropological microscope, and finds a strange and fascinating culture, governed by complex sets of unspoken rules and byzantine codes of behaviour. Her minute observation of the way we talk, dress, eat, drink, work, play, shop, drive, flirt, fight, queue - and moan about it all - exposes the hidden rules that we all unconsciously obey.

The rules of weather-speak. The Importance of Not Being Earnest rule. The ironic-gnome rule. The reflex apology rule. The paranoid-pantomime rule. Class indicators and class anxiety tests. The money-talk taboo. Humour rules. Pub etiquette. Table manners. The rules of bogside reading. The dangers of excessive moderation. The eccentric-sheep rule. The English 'social dis-ease'.

Through a mixture of anthropological analysis and her own unorthodox experiments (using herself as a reluctant guinea-pig), Kate Fox discovers what these unwritten behaviour codes tell us about Englishness.

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Kate Fox

Kate Fox, a social anthropologist, is Co-Director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford and a Fellow of the Institute for Cultural Research. She is also a bestselling author of popular social science.

Her work involves monitoring and assessing global sociocultural trends, and has included research, publications, lectures, consultancy work and broadcasts on many aspects of human behaviour, including: drinking, risk-taking, beauty and body image, flirting and courtship, crying, patriotism, pub behaviour and pub culture, horseracing, social class, mobile phones, the internet, online social media, menopausal women, cars and driving, gossip, taboos, violence and disorder, attitudes to work, coming of age in the 21st century, motherhood, shopping, individualism, the effects of health scares, the psychology of smell and the meaning of chips.

Her most recent book is the major popular bestseller Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. This book has sold over half a million copies, and is translated into many languages including Chinese, Russian, Polish, Korean and Thai.

Kate's other books include The Racing Tribe: Watching the Horsewatchers and Drinking and Public Disorder (co-author with Dr Peter Marsh).

Kate is regularly invited to speak at the major literary festivals, as well as guest lectures and seminars at universities, institutes, embassies, trade and professional conferences, etc. in the UK and overseas. She gave the Christmas Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, and won a debate against Boris Johnson for Intelligence Squared, among other high-profile engagements. She is frequently quoted in the Press and interviewed on radio and television. Kate has also been a regular columnist for Psychologies magazine.

Kate is married to the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, CBE.

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