Society, that distinguish people from others (Oxford) Ethnic
Society, Culture and Context UK: Identity Chapter 4 Identity: the characteristics, feelings of beliefs that distinguish people from others (Oxford) Ethnic identity: the four nations National (ethnic) identity can be strong among the people in Britain whose ancestors were not English. For Scottish, Welsh or Irish people, this loyalty is a matter of emotional attachment. ScotlandFor the Scottish there are three constant reminders of their distinctiveness: * Aspects of public life (education, the legal and welfare systems are organized differently) * Scottish way of speaking (dialect Scots is spoken everyday by working class in lowlands) * Symbols of Scottishness are well known throughout Britain The feeling of being Scottish is not that simple, this is partly because of the historical cultural split between highland and lowland Scotland. Wales The people in Wales do not have as many reminders of their Welshness in everyday life.
People in Wales often do not consider themselves to be Welsh at all, because in the nineteenth century, large numbers of people went to find work there. The language however, is a highly important symbol. About 20% of the population in Wales the mother tongue is Welsh.
The language is in a strong position due to media attention and campaigns. It receives a lot of public support. England In the last 200 years most people who described themselves as English have made little distinction between English and British.
English and British anthem is the same at international football and rugby.As a part of the growing profile of ethnic identity the English part, distinct from British is becoming clearer. English supporters wave St. George’s Cross at football and rugby matches.
And at the Commonwealth Games England has its own anthem. Nevertheless, exactly what makes English and British distinct from each other is not at all clear. Other ethnic identities Black Caribbeans The peoples of the four nations have been in contact for centuries.
Hence, there is a limit to their significant differences. For people in Britain with roots elsewhere in the world this is not the case.Most of them look different so they cannot choose when to advertise their ethnic heritage. The longest-established group is black Caribbeans. The great wave of immigration began in 1948. About 500 Jamaicans and Trinidadians, most of them whom had fought for Britain in WOII.
After 1962, immigration from the Caribbean slowed down, but remained significant until the mid 1970s. This group is the nearest to the white majority, in religion, language variety and music. The Notting Hill Carnival was started by Caribbean immigrants. Asians The other major group consists of people with their roots in and around India.The first wave of Asian immigration took place at the same time as that from the Caribbean.
The second took place in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. They stick close together and marry among themselves. The term ‘Asian’ masks cultural differences within the group, such as levels of education. Religion is considered more important than ethnic identity. The family With regard to family life, Britain is a typical northern European country. Family identity is weak and has a generally a low profile.
Family gatherings beyond the household are rare. Basic living arrangement is the nuclear family.The average number of people living in each household in Britain is lower than the European average, the proportion of people living alone is higher. The number of children born outside marriage is risen to 40% of births. About half the children live with the same two parents for the whole of their childhood. There is less respect for the formalities of marriage. Geographical identity A sense of identity based on place of birth is not very common or strong, people are just too mobile and very few live in the same place all their lives.
Local pride arises because people are happy to live in a specific place and want to preserve it.This doesn’t mean that the people of a locality feel strongly that they belong there. Identification with a city is quite strong in some cases. Liverpool (Liverpudlians, Scousers), Newcastle (Geordies), Manchester (Mancunians), Glasgow (Glaswegians) and London (Londoners) are cities with a strong identity.
In other cases, identity is associated with a county, which is the most ancient division of England but has little administrative significance (Yorkshire, Cornwall). At regional lever there is a well-known sense of identity. The northerners consider themselves tougher, more honest and warmer-hearted than the southerners. ClassHistorians say that the class system has survived in Britain because of its flexibility. It has always been possible to buy, marry or work your way up.
Different classes have different sets of attitudes and daily habits. It is not relative wealth or the appearance of it, which determines someone’s class. It’s someone’s attitudes and interests. Accent is the clearest indication of class.
An RP accent is usually considered upper of upper-middle class and a strong regional accent belongs to the working class. Inverted snobbery:Trying to adopt working-class values and habits, because working class is usually considered better.Posh:Trying to appear of a higher class than you belong to. Calling someone posh is calling someone distant and pretentious. Nowadays the class structure is less rigid than it was. The anti intellectualism is decreasing.
Men and women Generally speaking, British people invest about the same amount of their identity in their gender as people in the other northern European countries. People still expect a fairly large number of differences in everyday behaviour and roles. In term of everyday habits, British society probably expects a sharper difference between the sexes than most other European societies do.But the number of these differences is being reduced. As far as domestic roles are concerned, differentiation between sexes has decreased sharply in the past few decades. The same is true for public roles.
But even tough Britain was the first country to have a female PM, the top functions often go to men. Social and everyday contacts British people give a relatively high importance to the everyday personal contacts that they make. For many people these contacts are an important part of their social identity. Another factor is work, which is how many people make their social contacts.
However, since British people do not pend their free time out of the house any more than they do in other European countries, these means of self-identification should not be over emphasized. Religion and politics In comparison to some other European countries, neither religion nor politics is an important part of a person’s social identity in modern Britain. Identity in Northern Ireland Northern Ireland is an exception to all the above. Here ethnicity, family, politics, and religion are all inter-related, and social class has a comparatively minor role in establishing identity. On one side of the divide are people whose ancestors came from lowland Scotland or England.They are self-consciously Protestant and want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK.
On the other side of the divide are people whose ancestors were native Irish. They are self-consciously Catholic and would like Northern Ireland to become part of the Irish Republic. The extremes of these hard-lines attitudes are gradually softening. It should be noted that they apply to a lesser extent among the middle-classes.
Being British The largest possible sense of identity that a British person could feel is that they are British. But this sense of identity is not very strong and not very important.British people are proud of Britain but not actively patriotic. They don’t have a national day either. The only time when the British people become patriotic is when the British identity is threatened from the outside, for instance by the European Union.
Personal identity: a sense of humour If there is one single quality that British people cling to above all other, it is a sense of humour. It is just an everyday way of talking. The ability to laugh at yourself and to ‘take a joke’ is highly prized.
Two other personal qualities which are generally highly prized are bravery in the face of misfortune (stiff upper lip) and modesty.