–ефераты. ¬еликобритани€ - традиции и современность. Ћичное представление. (UK - Tradition and modernity. A personal view)

¬еликобритани€ - традиции и современность. Ћичное представление. (UK - Tradition and modernity. A personal view)

UK- Tradition and modernity. A personal view

УA culture is the sum of all the things by which humanity can choose to


I have chosen to paraphrase Brian EnoТs (British musician) words about

culture to start my essay with because they are related to the issue of

multiculturalism that I wish to approach in my paper. Starting from my

belief that a country is what her people are, I think that the complex and

diverse nature of todayТs British society can be better understood if we

take a close look at the ones who are actually forming this society- the

British people

Since the battle of HastingsЕ. Say the word УBritishФ and the thoughts of

most people would be directed to the language of Shakespeare, to the famous

British accent, to the royal succession, to Big Ben, to the 5 oТclock tea,

to the black humor, to the bowler hat and so on.

About fifty years agoЕSay the words УBritish peopleФ and the following

might cross their minds: conservative, traditional, polite, stiff,


NowadaysЕSay the words У British identityФ and you might find it described

only by УfluctuatingФ.

УStrangeФ, you might add, arguing that a portrait of УBritishФ people or

on the meaning of Уbeing BritishФ can be drawn in precise lines. In fact,

just above, people proved to have long-established guide marks when it

comes to sketching them. A simple, new and controverse word such as

УfluctuatingФ seems rather unsuitable to stand near the traditional and

well-known УBritish identityФ.

Still, the significance of Уfluctuating British identityФ might pop

anxiously in your mind, arising the curiosity to search for even a seed of

truth in it. And, if thatТs the case, I believe the starting point should

be the very basic element of this identity: the character and personality

of the British people.

The key question to be reviewed is whether a single and unvaried British

temper entered the gates of this millenium.

A return to the historic events might provide part of the answer to this.

After the Second World War, Britain faced an influx of European refugees.

As a result of it, sizeable groups of Americans, Australians, Chinese and

even Indian or Pakistani settled down and concentrated in communities in

particular British areas. УUnsettled MulticulturalismФ written by B. Hesse

gives a detailed description of the process, concluding that throughout the

following decades, the new foreign-born element of the population induced

by the immigration waves reflected its own image in the British identity.

The cultural prints left are in fact the assumptions and aspirations, the

values and believes of each community, that have shaped and outlined the

countryТs identity.

Nowadays precisely this diversity of backgrounds and experience define

Britain as a multicultural country. The traditional УBeing BritishФ has

certainly taken centuries to forge but I strongly support that only by

submitting to a modern and constant process of renewal with elements from

different cultures can a nation survive, open new and expanding horizons

for its society and build a common cultural framework for its people. Most

countries embrace this flexible attitude of taking in a new human input but

to me what is uniquely УBritishФ is the ability to preserve the core

traditional values of the culture and add to them the УspiceТ ingredients

of modernity. These donТt manage to alter British tradition, seconds J.

Rutherford in his book УYoung BritainФ, but improve its УtasteФ, its

glorious achievements so that a better and more complex heritage can be

passed to the next generations.

From my point of view, reconciling tradition with modernity in Britain is

like putting in a glass the oil (British culture) and water (foreign

cultures) together. ThereТs no mixture in this, in fact both remain

distinctive entities and conserve their properties. But most important, the

content of that glass will grow, as you continue to pour in it the vitality

of water. УSaltingФ and У pepperingФ the British culture with a multitude

of values from foreign cultures would certainly complete the fruits of

tradition and УbakeФ a more vibrant, modern and dynamic British identity.

And precisely the main УingredientФ used to УbakeФ it is the peopleТs


Psychology recognizes that the individualТs identity is closely determined

by the framework of various social encounters and experiences. As C. Squire

clearly stated in УCulture in psychologyФ, only the collectivityТs accounts

provide the foundation for individuals to make sense of their personal

experience and therefore for constructing their identity. The rule is in

fact a simple one and I could formulate it like this: people FORM a society

but the society, too, FORMS people.

If at the macro- cultural level described above the frame traditions of the

immigrant people are just an addition to the host countryТs cultural

heritage, without changing it in any way, at the micro- social level the

common life of the native British involves an interaction with people from

different backgrounds and a mixing with their habits, views, way of

dressing, music, sport and so on. In such a fluctuating context, itТs

almost impossible for the native British individuality to remain the same,

emphasize R. Baulock, A. Heller and A. Zollberg in the study УThe Challenge

of Diversity Integration and Pluralism in Societies of ImmigrationФ. Yes,

it УsheltersФ its primary and traditional УmoderationФ, УpolitenessФ,

УstiffnessФ, but at the same time combines them with modern and

distinguished Indian, American, Chinese or Asian УflavorsФ. Certain old

inside-British stereotypes have been eroded by the new fluid identities and

every field of modern British life stands as a living proof to testify


However, thereТs no recipe to indicate us what exactly will the notion of

УBritishnessФ comprise if so many cultures become integrate parts of a long

and famed British structure. Indeed the result may be unknown, but the

УcookingФ stages are obvious for anyone who walks on the streets of Britain


Cut into slices and attentively viewed, the traditional British life is

increasingly spread with stereotypical immigrants С traits and practices

Уsuch as vegetarianism, meditation or yogaФ, explain Mike Storry and Peter

Childs in УBritish Cultural IdentitiesФ. The same authors agree that the

list could endless go on, from the new sports adopted to various forms of

entertainment, fashion styles and even to food or drink. If these are just

a few of the foreign Уwhip creamsФ to adorn the British life, than a

further distinctive УrelishФ of it is given by festivals and significant

dates. These are in my perspective the most clear example of culture link

between the uprooted people and the native ones. They settle perhaps the

most democratic arena where expression and change can take place and where

tradition embraces modernity in one and unique combination wrapped in a

British manner. The Chinese New Year or Halloween are just a few

celebrations that show traces of foreign influence, but that acquire

British dimensions because the land, the fireworks, and most important the

people that take part at it are British. Sharing a common joy, being

together for the same holiday borrowed or not, unit people and set up the

groundwork for a transfer of cultural identity pieces. Some of them remain

pure British, others emerge as a mixture of cultures. If the first

category embodies British traditions, the second deals with modern British


A newborn child in Britain nowadays will be marked by both of them and will

mould its personality from traditional British УdoughФ but with small

modern УdropsФ of American flexibility, Chinese perseverance, Asian

patience, European innovation, Australian cheerfulness. Perhaps in this

inner mixture will the notion of Уbeing BritishФ truly see its future.

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