The Deferential English: a Comparative Critique

  • Dennis Kavanagh


All political cultures are mixed and changing. What is interesting in the English case, however, is the way in which a veritable army of scholars has seized on the deferential component. Other features in the overall cultural pattern have been neglected. This chapter is devoted to an examination of the concept of deference as it is applied to English politics. In particular it will focus on the different meanings that the concept has assumed in the literature describing and analysing the popular political attitudes, and those aspects of the political system, including stability, which it has been used to explain.1 My concluding argument is that deference, as the concept is frequently applied to English political culture, has attained the status of a stereotype and that it is applied to such variegated and sometimes conflicting data that it has outlived its usefulness as a term in academic currency.


Political System Political Culture Political Elite Conservative Party Civic Culture 
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Copyright information

© Dennis Kavanagh 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dennis Kavanagh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK

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