Britishness And British Identity Sociology

essay A+

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The Latin name “ Britannia ” was found around 320 BC in the travel journals of the ancient Greek Pytheas, and was used to mention to the name of some legion islands in the North Atlantic, while the dwellers of those topographic points were called “ Priteni or Pretani ” . The alteration of the name came around with the reign of Julius Cesar and by first century BC, Britannia was being used to mention to Great Britain specifically. But the name that this state holds today, has its beginnings in the Acts of Union 1707 signed on 1 May 1707 under the reign of Queen Anne. In that clip took topographic point the political brotherhood between the lands of England and Scotland, and subsequently on between 1801 and 1921 the whole Ireland was added. And the state received the rubric of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Furthermore, there might non look to be much that links France with Britishness. After all, France is a province in the Western Europe, while UK is an island situated to the Northwest of the Continental Europe. Indeed, but if we add a surprise component, like the war between UK and France, the sense of Britishness becomes stronger and prominent in the oculus of the enemy. In contrast in an interviw with Matthew Reisz about her paper entitled “ Britishness ” , the taking British historian Linda Colley argues that Britain is “ an invented state, to a great extent dependent for its raison d’etre on a viciously Protestant civilization, on the menace and quinine water of perennial war, peculiarly war with France, and on the victory, net incomes and Oherness represented by a monolithic abroad imperium, Britain is bound now to be under huge force per unit area… The Other in the form of hawkish Catholicism, or a hostile European power, or an alien abroad imperium is no longer available to do Britishers experience that – by contrast – they have an individuality in common ” . ( Reisz )

1. Arguments on Britishness and National Identity

1.1 The deductions of National Identity

A. Brah ‘s favourite definitions of individuality were written by Erikson in 1968 and Berger and Luckman in 1971: for Erikson, the procedure of individuality formation is for the most portion unconscious except where interior conditions and outer fortunes combine to worsen a painful or elated ‘ identity-consciousness ‘ . He insists that individuality is ne’er ‘established ‘ as an ‘achievement ‘ in the sense of a personality armor, or of anything inactive and unchangeable ( 20 ) .

These subjects are echoed in the preparations of Berger and Luckman. The cardinal premiss underlying their thesis is that world is socially constructed. They argue that, during the class of mundane life, a individual is witting of the universe as dwelling of ‘multiple worlds ‘ , but among them ‘there is one that presents itself as the world par excellence. This is the world of mundane life ‘ ( 20 ) .

This approaches suggest that the national individuality can be experienced different depending on the societal features that every person has. Undoubtedly, a individual has a past, this means that he/she has an cultural individuality, but is besides populating in the present, reasoning that his/her national individuality is put to a trial by the forces of modernness, harmonizing to Anthony D. Smith.

Fallowing the surveies of the same writer, the national individuality is divided in: civic, mentioning to residence, shared political values, common civic establishments and linguistic communication, while the other division, called cultural trades with lineage, national imposts and traditions. The consequence of this division is that the sense of national quality of an person is related with the prosperity of the society, bring oning the thought of “ government of truth ” , construct used by Michel Foucault. And Foucault farther explains “ Each society has its ain government of truth, ‘its general political relations ‘ of truth- that is the types of discourse which it accepts and makes map as true “ ( Higgins, Smith and Storey 20 ) .

In his surrender address Tony Blair declared that Britain is a society that prospers: “ I have been really lucky and really blest. This state is a blest state. The British are particular. The universe knows it. In our innermost ideas, we know it. This is the greatest state on Earth ” . But today the “ government of truth ” of this state lies in the eyes of the Scottish, the English or Welsh, who have this separate individuality and declare that the British individuality comes 2nd.

1.2 A Phenomenal called Britishness

“ In ‘A Union of Multiple Identities: The British Isles c. 1750-c.1850 ‘ , Lawrence Brockliss et Al. argued that Britishness was a perceptive and ‘composite ‘ national individuality that reached a point of development after 1800 and which made limited demands upon its topics ”

( Cruse ) .

As I said in the first paragraph of this paper and adding the testimony of Linda Colley I can province that Britishness was foremost of all an historical phenomenal. But as a cultural, societal, political phenomenal this national individuality has eight parametric quantities: geographics, national symbols, people, values and attitudes, cultural wonts and behaviour, citizenship, linguistic communication and accomplishments.

1.2.1 Geography

Britain is an island state, holding merely one land boundary line and four H2O boders: the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Irish Sea. Bing cut off from the remainder of the continent by the English Channel, this unitary province developed different thoughts, marbless and today plays a prima function in the world.. And we find another component, the topography. This component is frogmans and unique: rugged coastline, Moors ( Scots Moor lands ) , mountains ( Welsh Mountains, Mourne Mountains, Pennine Range, Mount Snowdon ) , lakes ( Loch Lomond, Lough Neagh ) , bays, hills ( Cheviot Hills ) and rivers ( The Severn and Thames, while Tay, Clyde, and Forth are river vales ) .

1.2.2 National symbols

“ British illustrations might include Parading the Colours, Changing the Guards, the Grand National, the FA Cup Final, certain rivers and mountains, peculiar memorials, the Union Jack, the BBC, the House of Parliament, fish and cheaps, the Highland Games, the Notting Hill Festival, the Edinburgh Festival, the Eisteddfod, imbibing warm beer. These are merely some of the many rites and symbols that seems to joint Britishness ” ( Higgins, Smith and Storey 21 ) .

1.2.3 Peoples

“ Peoples are merchandises of their biological science and environment ( Natura and Nurture ) ” ( Storry and Childs 29 ) . The writers explain this struggle of pride, of being different, for illustration the fact that a individual is populating in a certain part. For illustration Lancashire and Yorkshire have a known rivality, despite that the ruddy rose symbolises the terminal of this war and is now the national flower of England. Furthermore the people from the state side do non experience they have much in common with the economic bosom of the state, while the Londoners think every bit themself as reliable Englishmen. But allow ‘s non bury that Britain is a transnational state. The September 11 terrorist onslaught and the 7/7 in London, are events that put a dark valley on the minorities and people have a barbarous reaction towards the emigres, because some are of Islam faith and in the perceptual experience of many Britishers this links them with the tragic events.

1.2.4 Valuess and attitudes

1. Positive values and attitudes

In general, it can be said that the greatest values and attitudes of a individual are involved with his success in the modern-day universe, in which the person is an of import component. This avowal can be possible based on his old apprehension of the universe with the aid of civilization. The people of Britain have a important civilization, that with the debut of democracy, values like freedom, the apprehension of jurisprudence, and besides equity, tolerance were born. This set of values besides brought a sense of difference, in comparing to the European set of values. The Britons attitude of being reserved and polite in a manner that it does non impact other ‘s feelings, has both sides. One is positive and illustrates the gracious and educated side of a British and the other is negative and is more developed in the sub-part of this subdivision header.

Another set of values are pride and work ethic. There is something in history that makes the white English proud, and they are entitled to make so. Every state has the right to be proud of their ascendants and their accomplishments. The 2nd value is about the word “ hard-working ” that is defined by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, as they announced on their official site on August 2010 that the “ full-time workers average about 37.0 hours per hebdomad, parttime workers average about 15.5 hours per hebdomad and merely over a fifth of people in employment work more than 45 hours a hebdomad ” . But today Brits do non work the longest hours in Europe, but the Czech. They do non even appear in the top three ; Britain is taken by Greece and Bulgaria. So in our modern times, this impression of “ hard-working ” can be a fable ; and today seems a myth.

But I end this subdivision with some of import values and attitudes like community spirit, common aid, stolidity and compassion. Valuess that are planted steadfastly in today ‘s society.

2. Negative values and attitudes

The negative side of reserve is recognized by other people that are non in direct contact with the British civilization, like other Europeans. But as a surprise, an unacceptable attitude about this affair comes from the Scottish and Welsh, and besides from the immigrants. They see this reserve like a mask, that helps the existent individuality to be camouflage, and the existent ideas to be buried. Discoursing more about this negative values, pride is another cardinal component. This values is negative, because it becomes another issue in the life of the Scottish, Welsh and immigrants.

The concluding negative point of position, is non sing the groups mentioned above, but was percepted by the full universe. Probably because they are immense fans of athleticss and they spread more outside their boundary lines values like inebriation, vandalism and yobbishness. The football vandalism dates back in 1880s, the drunkenness issue is confirmed by the BBC: “ Drunkenness in the UK is the highest among 24 OECD states, measured in footings of the proportion of 13 and 15-year-olds holding been drunk at least twice. “ ( UK teenage misss ‘worst rummies ‘ ) , and all these attitudes are called a yobbish behavior.

1.2.5 Cultural wonts and behavior

The position presented here, nevertheless, is instead different. It has non ups and downs, but merely a progressive place of the British individuality. When the British base in waiting lines ( as they have been making at least since 1837 ) is a mark of civilisation. Sports like football, cricket and rugger are symbols of the Brits and their traditional nutrient and drink is a ritual for the members of this state.

1.2.6 Citizenship

Nick Stevenson describes citizenship being portion of the societal system, more precisly “ it belong to the a specifically differentiated sub-system of society ( the administrative-political sub-system ) “ ( 35 ) . And another societal author Paul Whiteley describes it as “ a set of

norms, values and patterns which bind society together, makes democratic authorities

possible and helps persons to work out corporate action jobs ” ( Cruse ) . But citizenship is non merely about a societal function, but besides can be described in footings of statute law. The British

Nationality Act 1981 introduced the UK citizen, intending that a kid that is born in the UK would be granted British citizenship and passport if either its female parent or its male parent are British citizen or are settled in the UK.

1.2.7 Language

When you are a UK citizen, it is obvious that you speak English. It does non count if you are Scots, Welsh, as long you have a British passport. Even immigrants can keep one in clip, but the first thing for them is to larn the linguistic communication. So the 2nd thing in common beside a passport is the linguistic communication. From the geographical position they are parts where they use different speech patterns, but it does n’t count every bit long as this component has the sense of Britishness and makes the puzzle complete.

1.2.8 Accomplishments

Britishness is portion of the past and present. There is a karyon of to the full achieved political and historical accomplishments, in which Britishness is balanced and which shows a strong state. The technological accomplishments like Fleming and penicillin, Bell and the telephone, Dypson and the new vacuity cleaner, are the best ways of continuing a cultural and societal heritage. In this regard, athletics is a beginning of innovativity that was been exported in other European states. Another successful export was the British music, that ranked high in the charts and made the Mother Country proud. Sets like The Beatles, vocalists like Robbie Williams and today famous persons born within the “ Ten factor ” tv-show, are symbols of Britishness and do the “ cool Britannia ” .

2. The Decline of Britishness exists?

The beds of British individuality and the fact that the construction of the imperium is made out of detached nation-states that have their ain civilization, makes it harder for the impression of Britishness to be about.

2.1 The causes

The multicultural Britain made possible the lifting figure of cultural minorities and for the Britons to decline the bounding with the minorities. In our modern times, we can read about the cultural differences and the high spots of the non-existent shared values. This episode of in-migration is still a job of today for the citizens of the United Kingdom, presenting some difficult words towards the immigrants and their civilization, words like “ islamophobia ” . This conflict is taken at higher phases, like the immigrants are accused of unjust claims on the public assistance province. In many intelligence studies, we can see that this people do n’t hold the same rights and the same opportunities to populate a normal life, and their human demands are perceived as a misdemeanor of the Britons rights. Because establishment attempt to do a possible integrating of the cultural minorities, the people onslaught was called “ political rightness ” . They still think that because establishments do n’t take into account their perceptual experience, there is a deficiency of freedom of address. But the biggest invasion toward Britishness, was the deduction of Europe in the British political relations. Their rights are non negociable in the European tribunal and the reaching of refuge searchers in the UK proposed by Europe, was a contrary.

2.2 The effects

The troubles of set uping effectual common communicating and harmoniousness between white Britishers and cultural minorities was already being identified as a diminution of Britishness. The establishments attempt to work out the jobs, make a deeper hole in this affair. The victimization was non merely among British Muslim, but as a throwing stick came to be a job for the white Britons. The surprise elements of this society was the tolerance of other cultural minorities that are seen as “ Ok ” or “ like us ” , in contrast with the British Muslim, that are the “ others ” . This impact on the UK is called “ societal agitation ” and it is a serious job, that emerges defeat and choler towards cultural minorities groups.

3. Britishness in the hereafter

In the argument of House of Lords on 19th June 2006, the future position of the historiographer, Linda Colley was took in history, sing the common subjects that can do Britishness available in the hereafter:

There has to be a manner of associating yesteryear, present and future. And one of the ways

we could make this is certainly with a papers. We do n’t needfully desire a

codification of British values, but there is a instance for a new measure of rights, or a measure of

rights and duties, which would include values. One of the things we

demand to make excessively is better the history course of study in schools. It is right that

Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland should hold their distinctive

histories taught. But there could be common history lessons excessively, which would

acknowledge all sorts of diverseness but which would besides hammer out something of a

common narrative. This would be partially an innovation ; all histories are. But it might be

a utile innovation. ( Cruse ) .

In the same study Gordon Brown thinks that a new British nationalism should let people to hold shared values: “ aˆ¦a common position of challenges and what needs to be done hammer a incorporate and shared sense of intent about the long term forfeits they are prepared to do and the precedences they think of import for national success ” ( Cruse ) . He argues that this new Britishness should be formed of “ a rich docket for alteration ” with “ a new constitutional colony, an expressed definition of citizenship, a reclamation of civic society, a rebuilding of our local authorities and a better balance between diverseness and integrating ” ( Cruse ) .

However, the fiscal crisis attacked besides Britain, and althought it has some strong sectors like pharmaceuticals, aerospace, defence, autos, high engineering, research and design, pointed out by David Cameron, the prime-minister in his first economical address, it needs at least 10 old ages to renaissance over. So this is merely the beginning of a new delicated procedure of reenforcing the state and the society, that will needfully take clip.

4. Reasoning statement

One major decision that can be drawn from this paper is the old attitudes towards Britishness has non yet provoked a seismal moving ridge in the new outlook of some people and Britain has to do forfeits and present new nomenclature of citizenship and civic society in the educational system. Although the multicultural Britain has created new signifiers for the look of some sub-state individualities, this has non helped Britishness winning over civic truenesss and authorities. In some instances about minorities the ‘meaning of citizenship will be lost under the Torahs of the state that the single comes from ‘ ( Cruse ) . A survey “ Young People and British ” ‘found that amongst immature people, Britishness “ did non have on the list of traits which helps specify personal individuality ” and was seen “ as an unchanging inactive property ” ‘ ( Cruse ) . In add-on, present arguments about the hereafter of Britishness highlight uncertainness on all sides as to what constitutes this construct and how it will be preserved in the hereafter by the coevals of “ cool Britannia ” . Or it will be merely about the diminution of Britishness?

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member