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Cool Britannia

Faktaoppgave om hvordan livet i England er; spesielt fokus på hvordan ungdommen oppfører seg og hvilke utfordringer de støter på i samfunnet.

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British Kids' Behaviour

This project has lasted for 3 weeks (35-37), and I’ve had many hours to work and think of this theme. I don’t believe youth in Britain acts much different than youth in other countries, but some things are of course special about British kids.


I have discovered that they are more violent than kids from other parts of the world, and I will focus a part of this booklet on that issue.


Other than that, I will write things about kids in general. Some of the things we know about kids in Britain is that they are under a quite big fashion pressure, but many schools try to stop this by making them wear school uniforms at school.


Some British bands have throughout time written lyrics concerning exactly the problems of youth today. I’ll quote some of those lyrics later on. But now, I will start with the violence in Britain.  



As I said before, violence is a major problem in Britain. Scientists have come to the conclusion that much of the anger and will to perform violent actions, come from the major medias like TV, games, music lyrics etc. Here’s an example taken from a song by the rapper Eminem. He sings: “Follow me and do exactly what the song says: smoke weed, take pills, drop outta school, kill people and drink! And jump behind the wheel like it was still legal“.


Concern about children and popular media has a long history. Plato proposed to ban poets from his ideal republic, because he feared that their stories about immoral behaviour would corrupt young minds. In modern times, moral pressure groups have tried to ’’protect’’ children from popular literature, the music hall, the cinema, comics, television and some videos not good for the youth of today. It's important to see the issue of TV violence and children's behaviour in a broader social, cultural and historical context. Why is it such a popular subject? This isn't often the fate of academic research issues. Well, it may be partly that it's a convenient scapegoat. Blaming the media can serve to divert attention from other causes of change, and so claims about the 'effects of television' can be massively exaggerated.                                      


Experimental studies

At the same time, we can hardly ignore the fact that TV does feature aggressive and violent behaviour. Research shows that by the time the average British kid reaches the age of 14, he or she will have watched circa 11.000 murders on television! At the same time, American TV shows are known to be much more violent than the British. However, the type of programme matters: there's more violence in cartoons than in many other fictional programmes, but children do discriminate between cartoon violence and more 'realistic' violence. Nevertheless, violence is commonplace even on British TV.


There has been a considerable amount of research into inter-relationships between the viewing of violent films, videos and TV programmes and aggressive behaviour by the viewers of such material, in particular the behaviour of children.


More commonly, research is framed as being concerned with what are called the 'effects' of television. This perspective represents the dominant paradigm in TV research. In its crudest form the relationship between children and television is portrayed as a matter of single cause and direct effect, which puts this kind of research firmly in the behaviourist tradition: based on what's sometimes referred to as the 'magic bullet' theory. Approaches have become more sophisticated in recent decades, stressing such complicating factors as the variety of audiences, individual differences and the importance of 'intervening variables'.


When youth commit crimes, we often hear the phrase “the tv made me do it”. Maybe there’s some truth in those words…..?


In a laboratory, children were shown either a race track or an aggressive programme and then allowed either to facilitate or disrupt another child's game. They could hurt the other child by pressing a button to make the handle hot which the child was holding. The children who had seen the aggressive programme were significantly more aggressive than those who had seen the non-aggressive programme. This was particularly the case with boys. In addition, when the children were later observed at play, those who had viewed the aggressive programme showed a stronger preference for playing with weapons and aggressive toys than did the other children.


Similar results have been found in most experimental studies. They suggest that the more violence is viewed, the greater the likelihood of aggressive behaviour. However, apart from ethical objections one might raise, such experimental studies have major limitations in terms of their artificiality. They have been criticized for a lack of 'ecological validity' since they were concerned  with strange behaviour in strange settings:

- children at home do not focus so closely on the screen

- the programmes are often untypical of children's usual viewing, typically short clips quite unlike normal TV

- children don't often watch one-off programmes on TV; the focus in the lab is on immediate or short-term influence

- they don't often watch entirely on their own, or in large groups; they often watch with siblings or friends, whose reactions are important; children's normal viewing is often mediated by parents

- Experimenters may effectively encourage aggression, offering unintended cues. And children behave in strange surroundings as they feel they are expected to: one child said, ‘Mummy is that the doll we have to hit?'

- in an experiment children may not classify as deviant behaviour which they might regard as such in everyday life

- children normally make distinctions between 'fantasy' violence (like towards a doll) and actual interpersonal violence

- it is difficult to generalize about how representative the children are



  • They might become "immune" to the horror of violence.
  • They gradually accept violence as a way to solve problems.
  • They imitate the violence they observe on television.
  • They identify themselves with certain characters, victims and/or victimizers.


Kids and fashion

Earlier in history, the worlds’ fashion centers have been Paris, New York and some would say Rome. But as time passed, the word “Fashion” became more and more associated with Britain. Actually, London is today one of the world capitals when it comes to fashion trade, and British designers are some of the most famous and respected people in the world within what they do.


The British youth culture has mixed opinions of fashion, but most people today are satisfied to “go with the flow”. This means that they try to wear the newest (and often the most expensive) clothing. The clothing style of the mass can also easily be affected by one person’s clothes. If the most popular girl in school wears something, others might try to copy that, and a new fashion is born.


In Britain fashion pressure is quite extreme compared to other countries (except maybe from the United States). In Britain, fashion is like an addiction. It’s so extreme that the youth often have to modify their bodies to fit into the newest fashion clothes. There will always be some people who only care about feeling comfortable in their cloths, no matter how it looks or which designer made it. Some people are tough enough to stand forward and wear something different just to prove that they have their own style and independence.


Because many schools in Britain have dress codes and school uniforms, you would think that the fashion pressure shouldn’t be so massive there. Nevertheless, it really is.


All of today’s fashion magazines like “Vogue”, “Elle”, and “Fashion” etc. are not making it easier for the youth. TV is also one of the main sources to fashion pressure. Every time we turn on the TV, we see beautiful women or men dressed up gorgeously. But in the end, it is understandable that kids want to look good in front of their friends and people in general.



Bullying in Britain

Bullying is a daily experience for many of the young people in Britain. Although this isn’t exceptional for Britain, it is still an issue which needs to be dealt with.


Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person.


Some of the ways they bully other people are by: calling them names, saying or writing nasty things about them, leaving them out of activities, not talking to them, threatening them, making them feel uncomfortable or scared, taking or damaging their things, hitting or kicking them, or making them do things they don't want to do. Many kids, also British, are being bullied every single day. Bullying is wrong behavior which makes the person being bullied feel afraid or uncomfortable.


There are a lot of reasons why some people bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, or making themselves look tough and in charge. Some bullies do it to get attention or things, or to make other people afraid of them. Others might be jealous of the person they are bullying. They may be being bullied themselves.Some bullies may not even understand how wrong their behavior is and how it makes the person being bullied feel. Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, but sometimes it's because they are different in some way - perhaps it's the color of their skin, the way they talk, their size or their name.


Sometimes young people are bullied because they look like they won't stand up for themselves. As a matter of fact, most people in the world today have been bullied at least once in their life, so they know what it feels like.



Cultures in Britain



In this part of the booklet, I’ll focus on all of the different cultures within the borders of Great Britain. Some of these cultures are from ancient times, and some of them are still living there today.


One particular thing I will write a little extra about, is the conflict in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. I’ll write down some useful facts concerning the IRA (Irish Republic Army), because I’ve seen many movies about this conflict, and I find it quite interesting.


Other than this, I’ll write a little about different “native” people in Britain, and something concerning all the immigrants which have arrived throughout al times.


But I’ll start with: The Conflict In Ireland.


Irish Issuess

The conflict involving Catholics and Protestants in Ireland has been going on for many years, and almost everyone has heard about it in the news or in movies etc. But what many people are wondering is: “What is the reason for this conflict?” I’ll tell you:

The IRA - and the political party that supports them, Sinn Fein - are fighting for a United Ireland. They want an end to the division of their country into two separate states, so that the Irish people as a whole can decide their own future. This means an end to the presence of British troops in Northern Ireland, and an end to the Northern Ireland state itself.


The Splitting

But why did this conflict begin in the first place? This is a question asked by a large number of people. Again, I’ll give you the answer:

For hundreds of years Ireland was a colony of Britain. The Irish did not have their own government and were ruled directly from London! In 1918 - the last time there was an all-Ireland election - the majority of Irish people voted to set up an independent state.

Britain would not respect the wishes of the Irish people. They sent in troops and gangs of criminals recruited to terrorize the people, who were known as the "Black and Tans". The Irish did not accept this lying down. They fought a brave and bloody war against the British occupation of their country.


In 1921, the British made a deal and divided Ireland into two. The relied for support on the Protestant minority in the North East. Using the tried and tested technique of "Divide and Rule", they gave the Protestant people slight privileges over the Catholic majority: better chances of finding work, better housing, better chances at school, and more freedom. So it was no surprise that most Protestants became "Loyalists" or "Unionists" and decided they wanted to stay "part of Britain".

Why won't the IRA let Northern Ireland stay part of Britain if that's what the people want?

Not everyone in Northern Ireland is a Loyalist. On the contrary there is a large minority - mainly Catholics - who want independence and Irish Unity.

The Loyalists are only a majority in the northern state because Britain cheated when Ireland was divided. Originally the province of Ulster had 9 counties. In these, a majority were Catholics - mainly nationalists who wanted Irish independence. So Britain drew an artificial border that was mapped out in London with only one aim in mind - keeping the nationalists as a minority. Only 6 of the 9 counties of Ulster were included in the new state, which one Loyalist leader called "a Protestant state for a Protestant people."

Discrimination against Catholics and nationalists was built into the set up right from the start.


British Culture Roots

To Britain, Ethnic diversity is not at all new. As a matter of fact, “foreigners” have always been a part of its population. People with different cultures, languages, beliefs and histories have lived here since the beginning of recorded time. Actually, everyone who lives in Britain today is either an immigrant or a descendant of an immigrant.


There are many reasons why people come to Britain. Some come here to settle and just live their life in peace, while others came as refugees from war. Many people came because of that last reason. Another possibility is famine or religious persecution. Some came as invaders, such as the Romans did two thousand years ago. There have been other invaders after them, for example different tribes from what we today call the Netherlands and from northern Germany. A group of people also came across the sea in the search for money and glory, this was the Vikings.


The Vikings

The Vikings lived over one thousand years ago and came from the three countries of Scandinavia: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. They were also known as the Norse people. They were mostly farmers, but some worked as craftsmen or traders. Many Vikings were great travelers and sailed all over Europe and the North Atlantic Ocean in their long ships.


The Viking Age in Britain began about 1,200 years ago in the 8th Century AD and lasted for 300 years. But before the Vikings settled in Britain, they had already been sailing there frequently for about 60 years to get gold and respect.


But why did they invade Britain? Did they have a reason?


Most Vikings who sailed overseas were simply searching for better land for their farms. Their land was not very good for farming. Norway was very hilly, Sweden was covered in forests, and Denmark had a lot of sandy home land.


Some who sailed were fierce pirate raiders: they stole treasure and attacked local people. . At first they raided towns and monasteries in other parts of north-west Europe. They stole the treasures and took the people as slaves.


Who became vikings?

The Vikings were farmers. When the farmer died the farm was passed to the oldest son in the family.


The Vikings had a lot of children! This meant that there were a lot of people which had to choose between being workers on their brother's farm or going over the seas in search of fame and fortune or new land.

Stories about how easy it was to get rich on such expeditions spread like wild fire over Scandinavia.

"There's not enough room on the farm for all of us. Let's sail westwards and discover some new land for ourselves... Sharpen the swords." This is what the Vikings from Norway used to say.

"We're not working for our brother", said the Vikings from Sweden. "There's new land and riches to the east ... let's go and trade there ... it's a better way than fighting.." So the Scandanavian or Nordic people began to explore, trade, attack both to the east and the west. Some of them went a very long way.


Immigration of the jews

Most Jewish people now living in Britain are descended from people who came from Russia and Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1914; but they were not by any means the first Jews to come to Britain.


The first documented Jewish presence in Britain dates from the early years after the Norman Conquest in 1066. For the most part these early communities lived, quite prosperously and peacefully at first, in what were then the major cities - Bristol, Gloucester, Lincoln, London, Norwich, York and the like. A number of documents and objects have survived from this period, and recent archaeological excavations have uncovered remains of mediaeval Jewish buildings.


The early Jews were welcome in Britain as long as they were able to pay heavy taxes, but over a few generations these impoverished them. The Crusades, moreover, gave rise to a wave of violence against a people seen as alien in their faith and customs.


The most tragic incident occurred in 1190 in York, where most of the city's Jews were trapped in Clifford's Tower, and killed themselves to avoid capture. By contrast, in Lincoln Bishop Hugh of Avalon (St Hugh of Lincoln) protected the Jews. Persecution worsened under King Edward 1. Under his reign, 600 Jews were imprisoned in the Tower of London and 270 of them were hanged. Finally in 1290 he ordered the expulsion of the 3,000 or so Jews left in England, and seized their houses and goods.


Between 1290 and 1656 there was no openly Jewish community in England, although the Jewish religion continued to be practised by some individuals in secret. At the end of the 15th century Jews were expelled from Spain and Portugal, and from 1540 a few refugees from the Inquisition settled in Bristol and London. In 1609, King James I ordered a group of Portuguese merchants in London to leave the country when he learnt that they were secretly practicing Judaism.


By 1800 there were about 20-25,000 Jews living in Britain, mainly in London and the major seaports. By the middle of the 19th century that figure had risen to perhaps 35-40,000, as settled migrants had families and new arrivals continued to join them.


These early immigrants moved to Britain primarily for economic reasons. They were seeking better lives and the chance to practice their religion freely. In the closing decades of the 19th century, the community increased to around 250,000, with a rapid influx of large numbers from Russia and Eastern Europe.






My opinion

Once again I’ve had a great time working with the English goals. I think I have solved them quite well, and I have learned much from this period of work. Gathering information was a little bit tough in the beginning (maybe because I’ve lost some skill during the holidaysJ), but in the end I think I have composed a fine booklet containing all the information you need to know about this periods themes. If I could have started this period all over again, I think I would have worked a little more on the other subjects while reducing my English work a little bit. I had a little too much to do today (Thursday week 37), but fortunately it all worked out in the end. So I would say this has been a fun period regarding the English work, and I’m already looking forward to the next three weeks of English (although I don’t know the upcoming themes).



Song lyrics

Famous artists often sing about things which concern the kids. This might be because they think they will sell more records and become more popular, but there is often some truth in what they are singing about. Here are some examples:


Pink Floyd – Another brick in the wall:

We don't need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave them kids alone
Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
All in all you're just another brick in the wall.

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