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Einsicht in den Written Test 09.02., 16-17 Uhr (Olaf Simons) 10.02., 10-12 Uhr (Annika McPherson) 18.02., 15-16 Uhr (Christina Meyer) 03.03., 10-12 Uhr.

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Presentation on theme: "Einsicht in den Written Test 09.02., 16-17 Uhr (Olaf Simons) 10.02., 10-12 Uhr (Annika McPherson) 18.02., 15-16 Uhr (Christina Meyer) 03.03., 10-12 Uhr."— Presentation transcript:

1 Einsicht in den Written Test 09.02., 16-17 Uhr (Olaf Simons) 10.02., 10-12 Uhr (Annika McPherson) 18.02., 15-16 Uhr (Christina Meyer) 03.03., 10-12 Uhr (Annika McPherson) 03.03., 16-17 Uhr (Olaf Simons) 17.03., 10-12 Uhr (Annika McPherson)

2 Introduction to Anglophone Cultural Studies New Perspectives in Cultural Studies Annika McPherson

3 “Britishness” in Public and Cultural Studies Debates Or: From “John Bull” to “Cool Britannia” and beyond

4 Aims of this lecture... To provide an overview of the (ab)use of terms and concepts such as “national” and “cultural” identity To outline a research area of Cultural Studies –To explain and encourage reflection on the organisation and configuration of cultural knowledge –To provide analytical skills for the understanding and contextualisation of texts, theories, concepts and terminologies


6 “Cool Britannia”

7 Politics and Culture 1920s: images of enduring British culture used to counterpose national continuity to economic changes and class conflict The War Effort: Hierarchy and consensus Culture as the primary definition of what Britain is today?


9 Contexts of the Debate 1960s Harold Wilson and The Beatles –Acquaintance with pop culture as an attempt to reacquaint the younger generation with consensus politics Thatcher’s anti-consensus politics –The heritage industry, revisiting Imperial British culture –rhetoric of national unity and ‘Victorian values’ Major’s ‘back-to-basics’ Britishness 1990s Tony Blair and Noel Gallagher –Politics: From ideology and economics to lifestyle and emotion? Does culture now hold sway over politics? Devolution: establishment of Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales, Northern Ireland Assembly

10 A New Britain? 1996 Labour campaign: New Labour, New Britain Death of Princess Diana: a new “structure of feeling” or “mourning sickness”? Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian: –“hugs have replaced the stiff upper lip as the physical gesture of choice” –New Britain as “less formal and deferential, more open and personal, more tolerant and optimistic, less macho and miserable, more diverse -- less straight, more black -- and less centralised”

11 Pop Culture: Continuity and Change “Rockers vs Mods, bitter vs lager, Laura Ashley vs Habitat” New products are frequently framed and legitimated in reference to their predecessors: retro-sampling –60s vs 90s –Beatles vs Rolling Stones, Blur vs Oasis –The British experience of the American century: searching for certainty in the past? –cult of the new, rebranding rather than fundamental social improvement in the face of continuous decline?

12 Cultural Knowledge What kind of knowledge is required for an understanding of (another) culture? –studying culture is a hermeneutic process –shifting maps of knowledge –‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ perspectives –exposes our own ‘identities’ and identifications –Cultural Studies aims at the integration of factual material and the observer’s point of view –examine ways in which meanings develop and how they circulate

13 Kate Fox, Watching the English (2004) Social Dis-ease Reflexes Humour Moderation Hyppocrisy Values Fair Play Courtesy Modesty Outlooks Empiricism Eeyorishness Class- consciousness

14 Traditions, Revisions, New Perspectives History and Historiography –the ‘cultural turn’ in historiography –‘tradition’ vs. ‘memory’ History and Culture –the Past in/and the Present –Individual, Social, Cultural Memory Cultural production, distribution and consumption –the ‘cultural turn’ in literary studies –texts and contexts –‘reading’ culture and cultural products

15 Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (1992) Traditions constructed at a certain time are frequently projected back into history... to enhance consensus and collective identity to legitimise hierarchical institutions or social structures to introduce people into specific social groups How is the past used? Historical fictions legitimise and solidify norms and structures at times of social changes Problem: ‘invented’ traditions vs. ‘authentic’ customs?

16 Conflicting Theses: Nations and Nationalism Nation states are a result of... Industrialism (e.g. Ernest Gellner) Enlightenment, French Revolution (e.g. Elie Kedourie) a response to colonial diasporas in the Americas (e.g. Benedict Anderson: “imagined communities”) ‘National Identity’ Imaginary identification with the nation state as expressed through symbols and discourses Nations as systems of cultural representation National identity is continuously reproduced through discursive action

17 Public and Political Rhetoric phrases like ‘the British people’ erase differences at times of crisis the myth of a homogeneous “island people” battling against the rest of the world resurfaces (e.g. during WWII) in sports, advertising, and in humour systems, groups are constructed and stereotypes employed cultural (self-)descriptions tend to emerge in comparison to what “we” are not or who our “enemies” are

18 “Britishness” between Self and Other


20 The “island race” vs. the “mongrel nation”? Defoe, “The True Born Englishman” (1701) 627.html Kipling, “The Islanders” (1902) rs.htm

21 Images and Stereotypes –Suggestion that Britain and her institutions are naturally separate and superior –Socially constructed images of Britishness held to be natural (e.g. the tartan in the national imagination as an ‘organic’ tradition) –lists of essential British items –rhetoric of national unity and ‘Victorian values’ under Thatcher

22 Stereotypes Tracing the emergence and genealogy of national stereotypes: how did they evolve, how and why are they sustained? E.g. anti-German feeling in the 1996 European football championship drawing on WWII stereotypes

23 “Britain”:...what? A cluster of islands close to the European mainland Two large islands with distinctive “Celtic” and “Germanic” traditions Four nations Regional variants Urban-rural divide, ethnic differences, generational divisions,...

24 “Britain”:....when? Edward I (1239-1307) sought to create the first ‘Empire’ in the British Isles Cromwell’s Commonwealth creates an alliance between national factions Integration through trade, marriage and business (economic and cultural convergence) 1603: Union of the Crowns (James VI/I) 1707: Act of Union (United Kingdom of Great Britain)

25 “Britain”....who? Citizenship, Nationality, Ethnicity Why is “English” not regarded as an “ethnicity” (Robert Young)? –“ethnicity” vs. “race” –English ideas of “race” predated biological race science –“Saxonism” in the context of European racial science –myths of national origin: Arthur vs Alfred –19 th century “Englishness” as a “translatable” global cultural identity for the diaspora of English descent around the world –until the late 20 th century, “England” was commonly used synonymously with “Britain” –“British” as distinguishing between citizenship, nationality and ethnicity in Scotland –only recently used as a reference to cultural identity corresponding to the political entity

26 “ Britishness ”... Imperial equation of ‘British’ with ‘English’ “The epithets of ‘Englishman’ and ‘Englishwoman came to refer not only to English people in the strict sense, but also to the Scottish, Welsh and Irish who also enjoyed the privileges of ‘being British’ in the colonies, and to settlers and their descendants in the white Dominions” (Graham Dawson). The British Empire provided opportunities for upward mobility “’Britons’ were a pragmatic creation designed to exploit and develop the new economic and militaristic opportunities of expanding trade and industrial, technological and scientific revolution. Religious exceptionalism was used as a tool to legitimize the ‘elect’ status of the nation (in the sense of being chosen by God)”(Chris Rojek, Brit-Myth: Who Do the British Think They Are?, 2007).

27 The End of “Britishness”? after WWI nationalist sympathies in decline campaigns for Irish home rule, devolution and separatism closer links with the EU Welsh, Scottish and Irish arts projects and music groups, EU minority language policy Literary production, Irish cinema, Welsh television Multiculturalism and multi-ethnicity reconsidering the history of imperial expansion and colonialism Devolution National identity vs. citizenship

28 “ Britishness ” 1960s/70s: Marxist revisionist history places class struggle at the centre of national history (E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, 1963) Linda Colley: British identity was forged in the 18th century by the state’s imposition of ‘Britishness’ on the population (Protestantism, industrial revolution, Empire - all driven by a popular psychology of ‘fear of the Other’) (1992) Robin Cohen: six “fuzzy frontiers” of British identity (1994): The Celtic fringe The heritage of the Dominions Empire and the non-white Commonwealth Atlantic-Anglophone connections Emergent European identity British notions of the “alien”

29 The “ Britishness Day ” Debate Proposed by Gordon Brown in 2006 Many of the suggested dates reflect Empire and WWI/II conflicts that have become problematic in the light of changing attitudes to the Empire and the ‘multicultural’ composition of British society Other suggested dates do not reflect ‘Britain’ as a whole but only parts of the union or of society –BBC History Vote #1: Magna Carta (15 June 1215), even though this ‘English’ incident advanced the interests of the private citizen over the monarch only on grounds of property to feudal lords –Cromwell’s Commonwealth: a revolution of the landed gentry with little concern for those without property –1832 Reform Act: extended the franchise on grounds of property and gender (1 in 7 adult men),... WHO IS INCLUDED/EXCLUDED ?

30 Claiming “Britishness”: Black British History “Too little attention is given to the black and multi-ethnic aspects of British history. The teaching of black history is often confined to topics about slavery and post-war immigration or to Black History Month” (Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, 2005) African soldiers defending Hadrian’s Wall constant sizeable presence since the late 16 th century port cities shaped by trade with Africa and the Caribbean Caribbeans in the Royal Air Force during WWII The “Windrush generation”

31 Identity Politics Seeking out “new languages” of identity Acting to change social practices e.g. Of exclusion from the “national narrative” Coalitions of interest New Social Movements feminist, ecology, peace, youth movements the politics of cultural identities class, gender, race, ethnicity, nation, age,...

32 The Public Debate What does “Britishness” mean today and why do we need it? A triptych of labels: –Cool Britannia, –New Britain, –The ‘End of Britain’ Slogans for changes that are (not really) happening? Nostalgia for traditional British symbols, but with different connotations?

33 A Cultural Studies Approach: Snapshots of a Moving Picture Deconstructing particular icons and identifying who/what they are, what they represent, and why people identify with them

34 “ Culture, Nation, Identity ” Culture as “one of the two or three most complicated words in the English language” (Raymond Williams, Keywords) “Culture as a term immediately poses a disciplinary problem that must be solved before the work of understanding ‘it’ can begin” (John Carlos Rowe, “Introduction, in “Culture” and the Problem of the Disciplines)

35 The ‘Academic’ Debate From “Identity” to Diversity and Difference From National to “Post-National” Contexts –(increased) interpenetration of cultures –rise of regionalism From “Culture” to the “Transcultural”

36 “Ethnic Identities” Western representations of ‘race’ have created ethnic identities through novels, theatre, painting, films, television, documentaries, music and photography Ethnic identity is thus largely a “social imaginary” which divides cultural groups through literary and visual narrations located in territory, history and memory

37 Inter- and Multiculturality Traditional concepts of culture emphasize homogeneity and delineation, structurally suppressing differences and encouraging separatism and violent conflicts –18 th century: Herder’s concept of culture as the whole of a people’s, society’s or a nation’s activities –social homogenization, ethnic consolidation, intercultural delimitation –“Volkskultur”: correspondence culture – territory - language The concepts of interculturality und multiculturalism tackle some of these ills, but their basic flaw remains the presupposition of cultures as homogeneous islands or enclosed spheres. –tolerance, acceptance and avoidance of conflicts, but no real understanding ot transgression of separating barriers

38 Multiculturalism “affirmative action”? history and literature curricula religious holidays clothing regulations anti-racist education anti-mobbing codes of behaviour “ethnic” festivals and research funding services in different languages bilingual education Is there a discernible multicultural policy on the governmental and institutional level? Are there anti-racist and anti- disciminatory laws and how are they implemented? Do immigration and integration policies support “pluralistic assimilation”, i.e. non-discriminatory interaction of heterogeneous ethnic groups Is equality guaranteed in the public domain (law, politics, economy) Is “private diversity” practised in the “private domain”?

39 Multiculturalism Diversity as plurality of identities Identity as an assemblage of customs, practices, and meanings emphasizing heritage and a set of shared traits and experiences The “saris, samosas and steel bands syndrome”? –Multiculturalism focuses on superficial manifestations of culture and makes them exotic –Multiculturalism views different cultures in terms of how “different” they are from “English” culture rather than on their own terms

40 Transculturality Fernando Ortíz, Contrapunto cubano del tabaco y azúcar (1940): “transculturation better expresses the different phases of the process of transition from one culture to another” – a substitute to the terms acculturation and deculturation with an emphasis on new cultural phenomena Transculturality articulates today's cultural constitution as characterized by intertwinement. Cultural diversity arises in a new mode as a transcultural blend rather than a juxtaposition of clearly delineated cultures. “The tendency towards transculturality does not mean that our cultural formation is becoming the same all over the world. On the contrary, processes of globalization and becoming transcultural imply a great variety of differentiation. Even if everyone uses the same media, it does not follow that she or he is making the same use of these media. And new media in particular offer considerable opportunities for variation, selection, and specification. Cultural webs woven from the same sources can differ greatly and be quite specific and even individualistic. Therefore, the process we are witnessing is simultaneously a process of unification and differentiation” (Wolfgang Welsch)

41 Cultural Studies in ‘ Postnational ’ and ‘ Transcultural ’ contexts......question national cultures (seen as a result of colonialist and imperialist structures of modern Europe)...question romantic-aesthetic notions of culture (seen as a result of disciplinary strategies under the rule of modern nation states)...question the reduction of ‘culture’ to refer only to meaning and representation...display a specific relationship between context, knowledge and power

42 Research Questions What specificities need to be taken into account when discussing “multiculturalism” in the UK? From which angles do we need to look at the debates on “Britishness”? What kind of “identity politics” are relevant in this debate? If “transculturality” better reflects societies today, should we give up attempts to create “multicultural” policies? Why/ why not?

43 Sources Andrew Calcutt, Brit Cult: An A-Z of British Pop Culture (London: Prion Books, 2000). Robert J.C. Young, The Idea of English Ethnicity (London: Blackwell, 2008). Anthony Easthope, Englishness and National Culture (London and New York: Routledge, 1999). Kate Fox, Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 2004). Susan Bassnett, Studying British Cultures: An Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 2003). David Morley and Kevin Robins, British Cultural Studies: Geography, Nationality, and Identity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). David Dabydeen, John Gilmore, Cecily Jones, eds., The Oxford Companion to Black British History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). Wolfgang Welsch, “Transculturality – the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today”, in: Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World. Ed. Mike Featherstone, Scott Lash. London 1999, S. 194-213.

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