In his paper, "Nation, Heritage, and Hospitality in Britain after Thatcher," Ryan S. Trimm examines the trope of cultural inheritance in postimperial Britain. "Heritage," an ubiquitous term in 1980s Britain, circulates largely as a conservative concept, an imagined bequest that works to exclude groups such as minorities who are disinherited putatively by not being part of the past and conceived as handing down some legacy. Such seems to be precisely the way heritage functioned under Margaret Thatcher's heritage politics, a collection of policies that associated icons such as the country house with the nation itself. However, although appeals to heritage stress continuities with the past, the very idea of inheritance depends on a break with the past. It is the necessity of these fissures that opens the possibility of a reappropriation of heritage, one that locates multiplicities and gaps rather than an exclusive continuity of singularities. Such a reimagining bestows a heritage that awaits the past as that which might return, a specter to whom one must play host. This intersection with hospitality and immigration offers a version of heritage attuned to the ways images of the past can be reworked and national and cultural identity revised, a rearticulation enacted in very different way in the Hanif Kureishi and Stephen Frears's film My Beautiful Laundrette and in Julian Barnes's novel England, England.
Trimm, Ryan S.
"Nation, Heritage, and Hospitality in Britain after Thatcher."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
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