History Of British Culture

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History Of British Culture

  1. 1. English Language and Culture for Business Dr. Peter Cullen Module II The History of British Culture
  2. 2. What is Culture? M. Arnold (1869): Culture from above – learning the canon to improve society and avoid the anarchy of “popular culture”. R. Williams (1960): Culture = lifestyle expressing certain significance and value ascribe not only to art and “high culture”, but also to institutions and everyday behaviour. NOTE: definitions of culture are motivated by social factors. WHICH SOCIAL FACTORS ARE IMPORTANT IN ITALY? WHICH SOCIAL FACTORS HAVE BEEN IMPORTANT IN BRITAIN?
  3. 3. What is Culture? Learning culture: Pierre Bourdieu and field, habitus, doxa Field: the arena of social interaction – verticle and horizontal – constituted by the relational differences of social agents. Habitus: lasting aquired schemes of perception, thought and action internally developed by social agents in reaction to objective conditions (i.e. of field). Doxa: deep-founded, unthought beliefs that inform an agent’s actions in the field. Universal concepts. These propagate the structure of the field.
  4. 4. Bourdieu and Culture Habitus reconciles the objective (field) and the subjective (doxa). Objective realities are subjectively assimilated by the individual social agent, creating a subjective agreement about external social structures – field. Key concept: Culture is learned behaviour.
  5. 5. Learned Behaviour in Britain – 1945 - 2007 Major themes: the fall of Empire Anglo-American relations transition from industry to services immigration class gender race tradition vs. innovation generation legitimacy
  6. 6. 1945 – Bombed into Democracy quote: J.B. Priestly Massive war-time output had broken down class and gender relationships: 6,000,000 enlisted, 250,000 killed 1940: Dunkirk evacuation 375,000 BEF. 1940 - “Battle of Britain” 1941: RAF vs Luftwaffe. English cities heavily bombed children evacuated countryside. 1941: Atlantic Charter – US entry only if Empire dismantled.
  7. 7. 1945 - Bombed into Democracy 1941: First “Keynesian budjet passed in Parliament = commitment to full-employment to keep the economy afloat Beveridge Report – “cradle to grave” state 1942: assurance of welfare, NHS = Labour committed to post-war social reconstruction. Churchill’s Conservative party considered 1945: patronising and out-dated (war heroism) Conservatives negotiate an emergency loan from the US government and hope that the US will “view the world through British spectacles”.
  8. 8. War and Social Change Shift towards social importance of the working class. Labour (after Beveridge Rpt.) promotes Keynesian fiscal intervention, direct control of manpower, state control over means of production = NHS (1948), Nationalisation, power to Unions. Note: Rationing continued until 1954, as part of reconstruction planning. Hoggart, Williams, E.P. Thompson come from this collectivist experience = British intellectual socialism.
  9. 9. Post-War Cultural Studies in the UK Emphasis on culture of labour , not economy of labour This is a break with pre-war concepts of class. Thompson and Hall are working class. This movement promotes adult education as opposed to elitist university education. Question: WHAT IS CLASS IN BRITISH SOCIETY? Problem: education from below vs. education from above.
  10. 10. Social Hierarchy: Class, Caste, Order, Rank, ??? Caste – informed and structured by religion (i.e. India) Order – informed and structured in monarchical/Imperial societies (feudalism) Rank – military hierarchy sometimes applied to social order Class – social hierarchy related to the “means of production” (Marx et. Al.)
  11. 11. Working Class and Culture: 1950’s War-time pop culture = cinema, dancing Question: rural England vs Industrial England shift in mass cultural consumption to the major cities: London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle. The working class recognises it’s own importance to the country – cultural creation of the working-class anti-hero. (i.e. Look Back in Anger and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) and the “angry young man” in the late 1950’s. The aristocracy is forced into business investment to preserve its wealth and standing – BBC, British Airlines
  12. 12. Working Class Youth Britain in the 1950’s is grim (rationing, social split between working class, middle class, upper class) Factory work is grim – energy is supplied by coal and emerging nuclear energy – sparking CND protest Economic growth in the late 1950’s undermined the Labour party = dissaffecting labour with it’s leadership Youth needed a form of self expression: music
  13. 13. Youth Culture 1958 - 1968 British youth turn to Black music and Black hybrid music like Elvis. Teddy Boys = Rockabilly Rockabilly is inspired by American country and blues (Johnny Cash, Dwayne Eddy, Carl Perkins, Little Richard) and interpreted in local working class bands i.e. Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers
  14. 14. Youth Culture 1958 - 1968 Mass media – Radio and TV – could only approach socially acceptable bands – like the Beatles and later the Rolling Stones. The Beatles were inspired by Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison (rockabilly light) Liverpool 1958 The Rolling Stones were inspired by Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters (rock – blues) London 1962
  15. 15. Mods and Rockers Angry young men – baby boomer rebellion split on style Rockers: rural, manual labour, working class, motorcycles (BSA and Triumph), rockabilly, leather jackets Mods: urban, pretensions of sophistication, scooters, ska, R&B, early reggae. The “Second Battle of Hastings” = 2 day Mods vs Rockers gang fight in Brighton (they’d all gone on holiday there!)
  16. 16. The British Invasion 1964 - 1967 British Bands, particularly the Beatles and the Rolling Stones become massive successes in the US 1° the Beatles on Feb 7, 1964. They went on the Ed Sullivan show with the song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” Followed by Manfred Mann (Do Wah Diddy Diddy), The Animals (House of the Rising Sun), The Troggs (Wild Thing), and Donovan (Sunshine Superman) This gained British performers access to massive American markets – and becoming rock n’ roll
  17. 17. Conservative Success Growth in the 1950’s was presided over by the Tory government. Labour was lost. BUT Growth in the UK was much slower than in France, FDR, US, and Japan The Suez Crisis (1957 UK, French and Israeli attempt to block Suez nationalisation by Egypt) left bitter taste for UK foreign relations Popular culture became decidedly “anti- establishment” in the 1960’s
  18. 18. Education in Britain – 1960’s and 1970’s Schools indicate class Accent indicates class Geography indicates class Popular culture after ’64-’67 became anti-class
  19. 19. Education in Britain – 1960’s and 1970’s University indicated class The fall of Empire meant an influx of immigrants from the Commonwealth (India, Pakistan, Africa) How to incorporate them in the British National State? How to deal with aspiring working classes?
  20. 20. Richard Hoggart and the Red- Bricks Born in Leeds 1918 At Leicester (1959 – 1962) *1957 Birmingham (1962 – 1973) *1900 London (Goldsmiths 1975 -1983) *1836 *1990 Oxbridge (Ox. and Cam.) should not be the universal custodians of British culture Concerned that “popular culture” would become de-valued by “mass culture” imported from the US. Including mass media
  21. 21. Immigration and Enoch Powell Enoch Powell conservative Minister of Health 1968 Tory gv Late ’60s sees significant black immigration from former colonies and fears race problems as in the US Powell gives speeches against Labour’s introduction of the 1968 Race Relations Act citing Virgil that “the Tiber would run red with Blood” if immigration was unchecked Much of his protest was aimed at equality in housing applications Racism?
  22. 22. Raymond Williams Born in Wales – 1921 Went to Cambridge with Eric Hobsbawm and became a communist – graduating in 1946 Was a tutor in Adult Education at Oxford Returned to Cambridge in 1961 and was Professor from 1974 – 1983 In Culture and Society (1958) he argues that the notion of “culture” developed in response to the industrial revolution “culture is ordinary” In The Long Revolution (1961) he argues that culture is both traditional and creative at the same time – zeitgeist Maintains that Mass Media allows greater possibility for cultural learning, criticising detractors as “too selective”. Cultural learning can create consensus
  23. 23. E.P. Thompson Born in Oxford in 1924 Educated at Cambridge where he founded the Communist Party Historians Group with Hobsbawm and Hill in 1946 – founding Past and Present in 1952 Taught at Leeds Wrote The Making of the English Working Class (1963) as a social history of the development of working class culture and identity from the 1700’s on. He concludes that class is not a “thing” or a “category”, but rather a process in which real people live in real contexts He wants to tell the history of the “forgotten heroes” of English industrial development – “everyday people” He holds, however, that culture creates conflict
  24. 24. The New Left Hoggart, Williams, Thompson, Hobsbawm, Hill, Perry Anderson, and Eric Wolfe form the “New Left” – British post-Marxist members of the Communist Party Founded the New Reasoner (1957) to discuss leftist ideas that did not agree with Soviet social practices – they are the dissident left protesting the Soviet invasion of Hungary and Stalinism The New Reasoner becomes The New Left Review in 1960, under the editorship of Perry Anderson – Thompson leaves the group and allies himself with Williams in the late 1960’s = break between the “First New Left” (Thompson and Williams) and the later New Left of Anderson (focused on the aristocratic trajectory of English cultural development) Influenced undergraduates to criticise and contrast the intellectual authority of traditional education – including institutions
  25. 25. 1968 – 1980 Cultural Revolution? 1967 – Britain’s application to join the EEC is vetoed by Fr. Pres. De Gaulle because the Sterling “served as a reserve currency, and British consumption of cheap European products made it incompatible with EEC membership Harold Wilson’s Labour government faced: retreat in Rhodesia, massive trade deficit, and dockworker strikes in Liverpool and London = economic confidence failed and the Sterling was de- valued Poor Labour Gov.t must now negotiate with the Trade Unions the party was originally designed to support 1970’s = stagflation. Transition period in technology and business process. Dockland strikes (Miners strikes (1973), nationalism in Ireland and Scotland, 1980’s Thatcher and Reagan solidify “free market” economics and undermine Labour politics – the working class becomes conservative
  26. 26. 1980 - 2007 Various agents in society now apply Hoggart and William’s concept of “culture”: i.e. Business culture, Sports culture, Student Culture Cultural Studies provided the basis for anglophone understanding of foreign culture, global culture, and world systems (although this was driven more by the French and Americans and received badly by the British left academics) Mass Media provides instruments that make cultural understanding central to successful business Old “class boundaries” are de-politicised as the economy shifts away from protectionsim. “Left” and “Right” (Tory and Labour) definitions become muddied. “Thatcherism” re-aligns British society in the 1980’s. Greater social risk and greater economic gain. Fully assimilated in the 1990’s current decade
  27. 27. Structuralism and Post- structuralism Structuralism = analytical interest in the structures of society – well adapted to socialism and communism Post – structuralism = analytical interest in behaviour and psychology of social agents – more flexible application – growing out of sociological trend toward “functionalism” Talcot Parsons) Foucault, Derrida – deconstructionism = the breaking up of a text into its culturally informed constituent parts, therefore leaving each part and its contribution open to interpretation: emphasis on dichotomies and discourse Tends to be anti-empirical and vague.
  28. 28. Margaret Thatcher – “The Iron Lady” Conservative Party leader since 11 Feb 1975. 19 January 1976, she made a scathing attack on the Soviet Union, stating: The Russians are bent on world dominance, and they are rapidly acquiring the acquiring means to become the most powerful imperial nation the world has seen. The men in the Soviet Politburo do not have to worry about the ebb and flow of public opinion. They put guns before butter, while we put just about everything before guns. Became PM in May 1979 after “the winter of discontent” – labour unrest and shortages. “Thatcherism” – reduce the role of the state in the economy = increase interest rates to slow money supply (curb inflation) use indirect tax (VAT) – hurting business and industry and pushing up unemployment BUT centralise power in the hands of the national government – and personally to Mrs. Thatcher
  29. 29. Thatcherism and the 1980’s Thatcher’s monetarism and foreign policy usually fit well with US Pres. Ronald Reagan’s ideas of the free market world. Except Falkland’s war (1982) which saw Britain enforce their sovereignty in the Falkland Islands (claimed by Argentina) NUM (National Union of Mineworkers) launched strikes in 1983 after Thatcher’s re-election – they were badly managed and over the year broke into splinter groups The Tory govt. closed all but 15 of the coal mines in the UK (which were sold in 1994) 1987-89 fought against inclusion in the EEU on principle of “small govt.” Supported Gorbachev’s reforms in USSR and convinced Ronald Reagan that he was “someone we can do business with”.
  30. 30. The Business of Thatcherism Anti-corporatist/statist mood in the 1980’s = do away with “monolithic bureaucracy” Nigel Lawson – Chancellor of the Exchequer introduces significant cuts in public spending and taxes to create incentives for investment The social gap widens: 1985 – richest 6% of pop. Holds 25% of GDP poorest 20% holds +-5% of GDP Global incentives to “multinationalise” helped the economy grow up to 1987 (labour and production are moved over- seas in many cases) with annual growth at +-4% and falling inflation
  31. 31. The Business of Thatchersim North Sea oil bolsters the balance of payments Unemployment is high, but is not a political issue Nigel Lawson’s 1987 budget, however, ignores long term stress on the balance of payments taxes hit sales and corporate returns – not the individual = great incentive for private gain Thatcher’s government cuts the power of Local Government (Local Government Act 1985) thereby removing socialist oppostition at the city level Media and arts institutions were stocked with party friends and sympathisers (Rupert Murdoch in the press) University funding was seriously cut and universities were placed on short-term profit basis for review Watchword = wealth generation
  32. 32. 1987 October 1987 = massive stock market crash, killing 24% of stock value in 1 day. BUT Nigel Lawson’s March 1988 budget allowed only two tax brackets 40% for the rich and 25% for all other income brackets = private bleed on business revenue and no state support. Consumerism and consumer credit WAY UP. 1987 – 1989 = unemployment up AND inflation up to 8.9% Thatcherite monetarism had problems.
  33. 33. New Labour 1989 – Labour distanced from the trade unions and nationalisation. They applied a policy of “new realism”: favoured the consumer, curbed union power, promised law and order - by 1988 +20% of adults owned shares - by 1990 +66% of residents owned their home Labour adapted to represent the property owner John Major Tory PM 1990-97 Tony Blair Labour PM 1997-2007
  34. 34. The 1990’s - 1997 Tory commitment to American alliance vs. Iraq (Major has been on the Carlyle groups European Advisory Board since 1998 – after his terms in office) Treatment of domestic issues = - 1993 “Back to Basics”, affermation of law, order, education – interpreted as “family values” and defaced in the wake of Tory minister scandals - Britain exits the Exchange Rate Mechanism and loses more than a billion £ trying to prop up the £n (caused by currency speculators unfavourable to the £/$ rate) - Beginning of talks with Gerry Adams and the IRA disarmament
  35. 35. 1997 - 2007 Tories still infighting about EU and leadership Blair moves Labour to pro-market policies and is “Tough on Crime” Wins the May 1997 election by a landslide Increased public spending in health and education, but enacted market-oriented reforms in management of them Supported devolution in Scotland and Wales Helped create peace talks in Ireland Staunch supporter of Bush’s post 9/11 “War on Terror” TOOK LABOUR TO THE CENTRE
  36. 36. Mr. Brown 1997 - 2007: Chancellor of the Exchequer July 24, 2007 – became Labour Party leader July 27, 2007 – became PM of GB and NI As chancellor: granted independence to the Bank of England in monetary policy (interest rates) 33% to 28% Tax cut for large business 24% to 19% cut for small-medium business expanded govt. spending overall growth in UK – 2.7% (in Europe growth = 2.1%) Unemployment fell from 7% to 5.5% In Europe it is 8.1%)
  37. 37. Mr. Brown Growth Brown states that his Chancellorship had seen the longest period of sustained economic growth in the history of the United Kingdom Anti-Poverty The Centre for Policy Studies found that the poorest fifth of households, which accounted for 6.8% of all taxes in 1996- 7, accounted for 6.9% of all taxes paid in 2004-5. Meanwhile, their share of state benefit payouts dropped from 28.1% to 27.1% over the same period Tax According to the OECD UK taxation has increased from a 39.3% share of gross domestic product in 1997 to 42.4% in 2006, going to a higher level than Germany.[48] This increase has mainly been attributed to active government policy, and not simply to the growing economy. Pensions The Conservatives have accused Brown of imposing quot;stealth taxesquot;. A commonly reported example resulted in 1997 from a technical change in the way corporation tax is collected, the indirect effect of which was for the dividends on stock investments held within pensions to be taxed, thus lowering pension returns and contributing to the demise of some pension funds. The Treasury contend that this tax change was crucial to long-term economic growth.
  38. 38. Mr. Brown Higher education In 2000, Brown started a political row about higher education (referred to as the Laura Spence Affair) when he accused the University of Oxford of elitism in its admissions procedures, describing its decision not to offer a place to state school pupil Laura Spence as quot;absolutely outrageousquot;. Lord Jenkins, then Oxford Chancellor, said quot;nearly every fact he used was false.quot; Anti-racism and popular culture During a diplomatic visit to India in January 2007, Brown responded to questions concerning perceived racism and bullying against Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on the British reality TV show Celebrity Big Brother saying, quot;There is a lot of support for Shilpa. It is pretty clear we are getting the message across. Britain is a nation of tolerance and fairness.quot; He later said the debate showed Britain wanted to be quot;defined by being a tolerant, fair and decent country.quot;
  39. 39. Britain in Iraq – 2007 Gordon Brown: quot;We will not allow people to separate us from the United States of America in dealing with the common challenges that we face around the world. I think people have got to remember that the relationship between Britain and America and between a British prime minister and an American president is built on the things that we share, the same enduring values about the importance of liberty, opportunity, the dignity of the individual. I will continue to work, as Tony Blair did, very closely with the American administration.quot;

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