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Keywords:

  • cosmopolitanism;
  • culture;
  • national identity;
  • taste

ABSTRACT. In recent years, strong claims have been made for the breakdown of national boundaries and the reformation of national identities in an increasingly interconnected global world – driven in large part by the possibilities and limitations that emerge from an increasingly global media world. It has been argued that new postnational, cosmopolitan subjectivities accompany, enable and feed off globally oriented forms of cultural consumption. This article examines these claims in the light of unusually comprehensive data on the tastes of the white British population collected in a large national sample survey, in-depth interviews and focus groups. By identifying and analysing the geographical spread of the cultural referents of the tastes of the white British we make an empirical assessment of the claims for cosmopolitan identities. We argue that if white British identities are being reformed by processes of globalisation it is, paradoxically, in an increasingly Anglophone direction.