Hu0004 week 1


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Hu0004 week 1

  1. 1. British Society and Culture Week 1
  2. 2. What Do We Mean By Britain? • Britain is not England and England is not the same as Britain - though the language is English. • Generally understood that Britain is made up of four separate nations - names? • England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. • However, there is another name for this group of countries. • The United Kingdom - UK. • Names - UK or GB, is there a difference?
  3. 3. What’s in a Name - UK or GB? • Great Britain - (geographic) mainland (or main island), archipelago consisting of England, Scotland and Wales • British Isles - (geographic) GB plus all the other islands including Ireland • United Kingdom - (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) - (political ) • Britain often used as political term for the UK. • British but not United Kingdomish!
  4. 4. Britannia • Britannia became the figure of national personification of the United Kingdom during the 18th century
  5. 5. Common misconceptions and sources of confusion • Some people think the other countries are the same as England - very upsetting to the other nationalities. Try asking a Scotsman if he’s English! • N Ireland is part of the UK but the Republic of Ireland is not - separate nation since 1921. • British Parliament in London. Scotland, Wales and NI all have their own parliaments (assemblies), but England does not.
  6. 6. What is the problem with this map?
  7. 7. N Ireland is not shown.
  8. 8. UK in Relation to Europe
  9. 9. About Britain - the Geography: Not a Land of Extremes! • Satellite Image of the UK • Anything surprising about this image?
  10. 10. Climate and Weather • Lack of cloud! UK has a reputation for poor weather, cool and wet. • Temperate climate - subject to seasonal change • 4 seasons, though sometimes it feels as if 1 is missed out!? • Generally moderate • In the path of the Gulf Stream, bringing mild, often damp weather from the SW across the Atlantic. • Recent instances of more extreme weather - global warming or natural cycle? • Often very changeable and unpredictable - favourite conversation topic. • ‘If you don’t like the weather here, just wait 10 minutes!’
  11. 11. Topography and Landscape • Again, no extremes, but very varied • A lot of coastline - BBC series ‘Coast’ • Lower land to the south and east • Higher ground to the north and west • Several national parks • What does this map tell you about probable population distribution?
  12. 12. Beautiful Britain
  13. 13. pics
  14. 14. Demographic • Popn map? O’Drisc p34
  15. 15. • Last census 2001 - nearly 59m. • 85% white British • 15% other races and ethnicities • Mostly urban - About 75% living in towns and cities • Current issues - declining birth rate and life expectancy increasing > fewer young people and more older.
  16. 16. What do we mean by British? • We will return to this question later, but you can be thinking about it.
  17. 17. Complexity of being British • Sport is a good model to demonstrate. • England, Scotland, Wales and NI have own teams for football and most other sports. • But in the Olympics, which includes almost all sports, it’s GB. ( but in a similar competition, the Commonwealth games, it’s Eng, Scot, Wales and NI) • Cricket - England represents the UK! • So sometimes people support Britain, at other times they are English/Welsh/Scottish/N Irish! • So diverse and multiple feelings of identity and also fierce national rivalries- England v Scotland football matches!
  18. 18. • England is often seen as the ‘enemy’, the team it’s most important to beat. • Historically, it was England (under Norman rule), which invaded and oppressed the other ‘home nations’. • For some this goes beyond sport and is critical to their whole identity. • Post WW2 (1945) arrival of Commonwealth communities in UK - Norman Tebbit’s ‘cricket test!? • 2010 - communities in London supporting every team in the World Cup.
  19. 19. The Home Nations - Scotland • From ‘Scoti’ - Latin for the land of the Gaels, relatives of the Celts who had settled in Scotland and Ireland - the Gaelic language. • Independent kingdom until the Act of Union (with England) in 1707 - there had been the same monarch since James in 1603. • Still today has its own Parliament, legal system - economy- North Sea oil • Many Scots have achieved great success in UK terms - Gordon Brown, Sir Alex Ferguson, Gordon Ramsey • However, many Scots feel Scottish rather than British and want political independence - success of SNP.
  20. 20. • Ben Nevis - highest mountain in Britain. Scotland has some of the best scenery in Britain, even the world (when you can see it). • Scots guard in full traditional costume, kilt, bagpipes and sporran . • Most famous Scotsman? • ‘Rabbie Burns’ – Burns Night – piping in the haggis • Scottish dancing – ‘cayleigh’ • People are Scottish, not Scotch! • Which is the term for whisky.
  21. 21. • Saint Andrew - Patron Saint of Scotland • Scottish flag, St Andrew cross • Famous Scots in history – Mary Queen of Scots, Bonnie Prince Charlie • Capital Edinburgh (not Glasgow), home of famous festival (Athens of the north)
  22. 22. Wales - Cymru • The name from Germanic ‘Walha’ - foreigner, stranger, or maybe ‘wealas’ - slave. • In Welsh Cymru - cymry - compatriots in old Welsh • Never been a nation state but a kingdom until 1536 when finally came under English law - after 1000 years of wars and skirmishes against the ‘English’. • But strong cultural tradition built around the language - recent revival, dual language signs today. • Learning Welsh now compulsory in primary schools.
  23. 23. • Mount Snowdon - apart from the SE of Wales, most of the country very rural, and in the north mountainous. • Strong musical/choral tradition • Until late 20th C, coal mining was main industry. • Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (Welsh capital), symbolic of recent regeneration
  24. 24. Ireland and Northern Ireland • One island but 2 separate states - Eire and NI • From 1970 until recently a very troubled area - ‘the troubles’ - what about? • Settled by the Gaels and later Vikings - early Middle Ages, 12th C, the English arrived and soon Ireland became virtually a colony under English control. • Following Reformation, religious dimension - England Protestant, Ireland Catholic • Irish peasants treated very badly - Great Famine of the 1840s - independence movement, Sinn Fein - IRA • 19th C - Irish problem big issue in British politics • Finally- 1920 Govt of Ireland Act - created split nation – eventually leaving the ‘6 counties’ in the NE as part of the UK, Northern Ireland/Ulster, but with a
  25. 25. Recent History – ‘The Troubles’ • Late 60s – eruption of violence between Catholics and Protestants • The Catholics protesting about discrimination • Involvement of paramilitary groups • The Irish Republican Army (IRA) – Catholic nationalist – united Ireland • Ulster Defence Association (UDA) – Protestant, Loyalist – wanting to remain part of the UK • British army brought in to ‘keep the peace’
  26. 26. England • Biggest in size and population. • One country, but many regions and big cities • North-South divide - stereotypes of typical northerners and southerners. • London still a magnet, but also resented for its wealth and domination of the news/media • 6 main regions • London and SE, South West, East Anglia, Midlands, North West, North East • However, many base identity on their city - Scousers, Mancies, Brummies, Geordies
  27. 27. Social Class • In Britain, but especially England, class is still a very important factor in people’s identity. • In part a legacy of the Norman feudal system (aristocracy and peasants), but more recently the Industrial Revolution (middle and working classes) • Today, less obvious and more flexible, but still very important
  28. 28. Nationality & Identity • Like many countries, nationality & identity are not straightforward. • By Britishness do we really mean Englishness? • Scots, Welsh, N. Irish, Manx & mixed race inhabitants do not call themselves British. • Great Britain used since 1603 when James VI of Scotland became James I of England. • United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, Act of Union (Eng., Scot. Wales). • United Kingdom of Great Britain and N.I. In 1921, after Irish independence.
  29. 29. Britain today
  30. 30. What do we mean by British? • Living in Britain • Holding a British passport • Born in Britain • Family in Britain for 2 or more generations • Vote in British elections • Obey (mostly) British laws • Share (mostly) majority values and attitudes • Support British sports teams
  31. 31. What are some of these key British values and attitudes? Is there a typical British person?
  32. 32. Key elements of Britishness • Diversity/Tolerance • Democracy - Parliamentary tradition • Moderation, reformist, non-revolutionary • Freedom - Justice • Pragmatism and practicality over intellectualism • Entrepeneurialism – imperialism • Individualism, privacy – ‘an Englishman’s home …..?’ • Stoicism • Scepticism - anti-authoritarian
  33. 33. Diversity • Today very multicultural with many ethnic groups • But diversity amongst the British • Britain and Britishness - very complex concepts