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National Identity and Ethnic Identity

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Sociology homework - June 05 A) One reason why David Blunkett wants to introduce the 'Britishness Tests' is because he feels that understanding the UK's way of life will help immigrants to take part in the British society. Assimilation is increasing as the ethnic minorities are adopting the mainstream culture of the British society. This may show that as immigrants enter the country they adopt to the culture to feel part of the society. This may also increase the immigrant's sense of values that we hold within Britain if a 'Britishness Test' is introduced. A second reason why David Blunkett wants to introduce this test is that he wants to see a greater pride from British people about their own culture and identity. British pride is shown through the symbols and rituals that are followed. The symbols include flags, anthems and monuments this show Britishness as they are present in many places and are valued by many of the British members. Rituals such as the Queen's speech as also valued by many people as they are proud of their country. Schusden talks about how people celebrate their nationality through symbols and rituals and unite us in Britishness. This shows that these types of values could show how Britishness is measured. ...read more.


However ethnic identity will be also be influenced by social class and race as people don't always conform to their peer groups. Johal's dual Identity does not necessarily mean that people are creating an ethnic identity from their peers as the Asians only adopt elements of the white culture especially in front of their white peers. Britain can be seen as ethnocentric which means that are ethnic views would be passed to others and they would feel that they have to follow. A second agent of secondary socialisation that creates ethnic identities is religion. Johal notes that it functions to empower through difference when ethnic minority religion comes into conflict with the increasingly secularised majority culture over issues such as worship in schools, the education of females, clothing requirements, etc. Bird argues that religion therefore functions to maintain ethnic identity and resist assimilation in a mainly white and Christian society. d) There are arguments for and against there being a clear British culture and identity in the contemporary UK. Inclusive nationalism where people have no wish to draw tight boundaries around membership of the British nation and are willing to include certain marginal groups e.g. immigrants as part of the national community and grant them full civil rights. ...read more.


This means that there is not a clear British Identity as they are classing themselves as English not British. This was studied by Curtice and Heath who found that this group who identify themselves as English not British has increased from seven percent of the population to seventeen percent in 1999. 37 percent openly admitted to being openly racially prejudice. Many thought that the EU was trying to abolish Britishness. This shows many people are loosing the sense of Britishness and believe that they are English. The concept of the Celtic identity shows that people don't have a British identity as this term describes the Welsh, Irish and Scottish. This shows that they do include themselves as part of Britain and are removing themselves from the rest of the society. Exclusive nationalism shows that a clear British Culture and Identity is not present. People in this group place stronger emphasis on maintaining tight national boundaries by excluding immigrants and ethnic minorities. They have a hatred for foreigners and European interference in British political and economic affairs this was stated by Dowds and Young. This shows that other people want to join the British culture and are being pushed away. There are tight national boundaries so people do not have a clear view of what they class as British and are not including others. ...read more.

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