Anglosphere: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Anglosphere is a term with conflicting meanings. For some, the Anglosphere is just those set of nations with English as the most common language. For many others, it is a set of nations which share an "English-like" character and culture, particularly including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand.



Definitions of the Anglosphere vary: Countries in which English is the first language of a large fraction of the population are shown in blue. Other countries with substantial adoption of English are shown in light blue
Another view of the Anglosphere: countries with a "British" culture.

The term Anglosphere was first used by author Neal Stephenson in his 1995 novel The Diamond Age. Stephenson did not use the term in any specific geopolitical sense but rather to describe a fictional race called the Atlantans who, when immigrating to London, were drawn from across the English speaking world. The blog defines the term as meaning "the collection of English-speaking nations that support the principles of common law and civil rights".[1]

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary uses the more inclusive definition, defining Anglosphere to mean "the group of countries where English is the main native language".[2] The Merriam-Webster dictionary uses the less inclusive definition, saying "the countries of the world in which the English language and cultural values predominate".[3]


The US businessman James C. Bennett, a proponent of the idea that there is something special about the cultural and legal traditions of English-speaking nations, writes on his blog "Albion's Seedlings" that "The Anglosphere, as a network civilization without a corresponding political form, has necessarily imprecise boundaries. Geographically, the densest nodes of the Anglosphere are found in the United States and the United Kingdom, while Anglophone regions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa are powerful and populous outliers. The educated English-speaking populations of the Caribbean, Oceania, Africa and India constitute the Anglosphere's frontiers."[4]

Bennett's 2004 book, The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century, argues there are two challenges confronting his concept of the Anglosphere. The first is finding ways to cope with rapid technological advancement and the second is the geopolitical challenges created by what he assumes will be an increasing gap between anglophone prosperity and economic struggles elsewhere.[5]

Andrew Roberts claims that the Anglosphere has been central in the First World War, Second World War and Cold War. He goes on to contend that anglophone unity is necessary for the defeat of Islamism.[6]

According to a 2003 profile in The Guardian, historian Robert Conquest favoured a British withdrawal from the European Union in favour of creating "a much looser association of English-speaking nations, known as the 'Anglosphere'".[7]


Left-leaning civil rights activist Tom Hayden, writing for Zmag, an online publication, defines proponents of the Anglosphere as wanting a United States where the dominant culture remains firmly rooted in an English tradition. Hayden predicts that in the US, their project will fail. The "Anglosphere is dying, if only through demographics. It is a matter of time – of when, not whether. The newcomers have neither the need nor the capacity to assimilate into a declining Anglosphere." [8]

Michael Ignatieff wrote in an exchange with Robert Conquest published by the New York Review of Books, that the term neglects the evolution of fundamental legal and cultural differences between the US and the UK, and the ways in which UK and European norms have drawn closer together. Of Conquest's view of the Anglosphere, Ignatieff writes: "He seems to believe that Britain should either withdraw from Europe or refuse all further measures of cooperation, which would jeopardize Europe's real achievements. He wants Britain to throw in its lot with a Union of English-speaking peoples, and I believe this to be a romantic illusion."[9] The notion of Anglospheric exceptionalism (as propagated by Bennett) comes under heavy criticism from various sources which deem it an inherently far-right theory.[10][11][12]

See also


  1. ^ Word Spy blog "Anglosphere" entry
  2. ^ Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (6th ed.), Oxford University Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-920687-2 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Anglosphere Challenge: Why the English-Speaking Nations Will Lead the Way in the Twenty-First Century / 2004 ISBN 0742533328
  6. ^ A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900 / 2006 ISBN 0297850768
  7. ^ "Scourge and poet", Andrew Brown, The Guardian, February 15, 2003
  8. ^ Tom Hayden (4 May 2006). "Who Are You Calling An Immigrant?". Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  9. ^ Robert Conquest, Reply by Michael Ignatieff (23 March 2000). "The 'Anglosphere'". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  10. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (14 May 2008). "Anglo-American Ascendancy Lost in Unnecessary Wars". Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. 
  11. ^ Jäntti, Markus; Coauthors are Bernt Bratsberg, Knut Roed, Oddbjørn Raaum, Robin Naylor, Eva Österbacka, Anders Björklund, Tor Eriks (January 2006). "American Exceptionalism in a New Light: A Comparison of Intergenerational Earnings Mobility in the Nordic Countries, the United Kingdom and the United States". IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor. 
  12. ^ Reynolds, Glenn (28 October 2004). "Explaining the 'Anglosphere'". 


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




Anglo- + sphere


  • IPA: ˈæŋgləˌsfɪr

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:





  1. The collection of anglophone countries that also share democracy, a similar legal system and capitalist free market economies




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