Ethnicity And The Welsh Nations Cultural Studies Essay

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In todays world, especially in big city's such as cardiff or London, the diversity and range of cultures is huge. It is incredibly important that everyone is very tolerent and accepting that everyone doesnt nessecarily live the same way as everyone else. Although the full responsibility for this does not just rely on existing members of the community to be more tolerant, Intergration into society is one of the most important aspects for a tollerant society. If integration fails, the current community may start to reject the new group of people which then causes problems. I will evaluate to what extent it is important for those providing Public Services in a modern, multiculteral and tolerant Britain to understand other "cultures" in order to ensure that everyone is treated fairly.

Some people may believe that having loads of immigrants and cultures within small areas is a bad thing and they may feel like they are 'being taken over' but in fact in 2001 the figures tell a different story. The ethnic breakdown census 2001 show that the UK consists of only 7.9% ethnic minorities (4,635,296 people) (OBSERVER, The, 2008) The range of different culture make up the diversity of people which in turn make cities such as london a better, more diverse place. If it wasn't for immigration and muliple cultures we would not have the massive range of resuraunts that range from fast food chinese and Indian take-aways to the more unusual types such as live food restaurants which the origins come from all around the world.

There are many skill gaps that are filled by immigrant workers.

"Immigrants now account for more than four million of the 37 million working-age people in Britain" (FORD, Richard, 2007)

Loads of our infructure and skilled jobs also rely on immigrants.

"About 23% of Britain's doctors and 24% of restaurant employees were born in other countries" (ANON, 2006)

In contrast to looking at these figures in a positive light, many believe that 'immigrants are taking our jobs'. These figures, to a certain degree support this statement which would lead out of work unemployed UK born doctors to feel resentment towards the immigrates because it is their fault to a certain degree, they are unemployed however indirect it may be. In turn, this resentment can easily and very quickly turn into racism. Although to ultimately sort this problem out, the central government has to step in and take control of the situation, the police at the frontline are left to deal with the situation there and then. The police need to be very aware of the situation so if anything does happen then they are not totally oblivious to the issue and may be able to defuse the situation faster. British police have a number of issues to contend with, one very big one would be the introduction of sharia law courts back in 2008. Sharia is Islamic law where sharia courts have been given power to rule on muslim civil cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to cases involving domestic violence. There are many arguments for and against this, Dr williams argues that, "adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion" (WILLIAMS, Rowan, 2008) He also stresses that muslims should not have to choose from "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".

Culturally, muslims live very different lives to the 'western world', and have drastically different laws. This means that something that we as westerners find completely normal like have 1 wife, in the far east and in sharia law, having two wives is acceptable. In the UK we have strict laws against having more than one wife and it is totally unacceptable. This is a major cultural difference, one that can cause big issues as it can be breaking the law if not followed correctly.

Culture -

A community or population sufficently large enough to be self-sustaining, that is large enough to produce new generations of members without relying on outside peoples" (JANDT, Fred, 2004)

"The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social,ethnic, or age group: the  youth culture; the drug culture." (ONLINE, Dictionary)

In the 19th century, the term culture was commonly used in reference to western civilisation. The British anthropologist, Sir Edward Taylor (1871)theorised that all civilisations progress through development stages, starting at savagery, moving onto barbarism and finishing at western civilisation. It is obvious that Sir Edward Taylor was making the assumption that western civilisation was far supiror to any other and was the ultimate goal that smaller civilations should be heading towards. This is a clearly big headed way of thinking, which would create resentment from other evolving, emerging civilisations that may feel they are being controlled.

It is very important that people from different cultures communicate with each other successfully if they are to live in harmony with one another. Interculter communication is used to describe the wide range of communication problems that occur when people from different backgrounds, religions, social, ethnic and educational backgrounds. It is very important for anyone, especially people in an organisational capacity but crucial for anyone in the public sector to understand that there are these barriers and difficulties when intercultural communication is referred to. Aside from language, intercultural communication focuses on social attributes, thought patterns, and the cultures of different groups of people. It also involves understanding the different cultures, languages and customs of people from other countries.

There are 5 different groups of approaches to the different theries behind interculter communication; effective outcomes, on accommodation or adaption, on identity negotiation and management, on communication networks and finally on acculturation and adjustment.

Theories focusing on effective outcomes

Cultural Convergence

In a relatively closed social system in which communication among members is unrestricted, the system as a whole will tend to converge over time toward a state of greater cultural uniformity. The system will tend to diverge toward diversity when communication is restricted.[4]

Anxiety/Uncertainty Management

This theory focuses on management of uncertainty (e.g., the inability to predict or explain others` attitudes, behavior, or feelings) and anxiety (e.g., feelings of being uneasy, tense, worried, or apprehensive)[5]

Effective Group Decision Making

This theory is about decision making within groups. Therefore it presents different group constellations and their way of decision making as well as their prospect of success.[6]

[edit]Theories focusing on accommodation or adaption

Communication Accommodation Theory

This theory focuses on linguistic strategies to decrease or increase communicative distances.

Intercultural Adaption

This theory is designed to explain how communicators adapt to each other in "purpose-related encounters", at which cultural factors need to be incorporated.[7]

Co-cultural Theory

In its most general form, co-cultural communication refers to interactions among underrepresented and dominant group members.[8] Co-cultures include but are not limited to people of color, women, people with disabilities, gay men and lesbians, and those in the lower social classes. Co-cultural theory, as developed by Mark P. Orbe, looks at the strategic ways in which co-cultural group members communicate with others. In addition, a co-cultural framework provides an explanation for how different persons communicate based on six factors.

[edit]Theories focusing on identity negotiation or management

Identity Management Theory

Identity Negotiation Theory

Cultural Identity Theory

[edit]Theories focusing on communication networks

Networks and Outgroup Communication Competence

Intracultural Versus Intercultural Networks

Networks and Acculturation

[edit]Theories focusing on acculturation and adjustment

Communication Acculturation

This theory attempts to portray "cross-cultural adaption as a collaborative effort in which a stranger and the receiving environment are engaged in a joint effort."[9]

Anxiety/Uncertainty Management

When strangers communicate with hosts, they experience uncertainty and anxiety. Strangers need to manage their uncertainty as well as their anxiety in order to be able to communicate effectively with hosts and then to try to develop accurate predictions and explanations for hosts' behaviors.

Assimilation, Deviance, and Alienation States

Assimilation and adaption are not permanent outcomes of the adaption process; rather, they are temporary outcomes of the communication process between hosts and immigrants. "Alienation or assimilation, therefore, of a group or an individual, is an outcome of the relationship between deviant behavior and neglectful communication."[10]

Culture can be defined in many different ways, which also evolve over time and adapt to the current time. The way we may perceive our own culture could be something completely different to what an outsider perceives it to be. For example, information gathered from an article "what the world thinks" show figures of public opinion from and international perspective. Between July and October 2002, the Pew research Centre for the people and press surveyed 38,000 people in 46 languages around the world. In each country they asked three basic questions; spread of US ideas a good thing, likes US music, TV and movies and if they like US science and technology. The results showed that in countries that are very similar and close to the US such as Britain were 37, 77 and 76 respectively where as in Pakistan, the results showed 2, 4 and 42 respectively. These results show that although Americans are very proud of their way of likfe and feel thier way is the best way, does not reflect in the opinion poll set out here.

When there are many different cultures in one space such as in London, conflicts can and do arise. For example in Cinderford, a brick and a recycling bin were thrown at a shop in a racist attack. Four men shouted racist abuse outside the shop in Pembroke street at 0130 on new years day. (BBC, 2011) Racist attacks, or any abuse whether it be mental or physical is the notification when intercultur relations have broken down to such a point that police intervention has to be made. If this happens then there has been a clear failure in the system to prevent such events. There can be many reasons for this, either constant events such as those happening in Iraq or even "one off" attacks such as 7/7 bombings and the attempted bombing of glasgow airport.

"Following the attack on Glasgow airport in June, racist incidents across Scotland have soared, with sharp rises in violent attacks, abuse and harassment in the four weeks after the car bombing. The worst cases included attempts to blow up an Asian shop and a mosque." (SCHOLFIELD, David Cracknell and Alan, 2007)

The most recent statistics from the ministy of justice show that there were 41,000 racially or religiously aggravated offences in 2005-06. This is when global international culture, and global issues have a potential to create conflict worldwide. One major problem is that newpapers exagerate immigration making people think immigration is more out of control than it actually is. The reason behind this is to make people buy their newspapers not just for news, but for the entertainment factor as well. In 2007 a report by researchers at IPSOS Mori said: "A large part of the explanation is to be found in media coverage... media portrayals of crime and justice do seem particularly perverse." Newspaper pages are often full of gruesome details of violent crime on Britain's streets: such tales are frequently more gripping than stories about "plastic" crime such as credit card fraud, for example. People who are worried about disorder close to their own homes feel they can relate to them. This in turn encourages further coverage. (RAJAN, Amol, 2009)

Linked to this, most people's source of information is from their daily newspaper. If the information they get from the newspapers make them think crime is worse than it actually is. Out of context the information is incorrect but people do not know better so when people make comments such as "they are taking all the jobs" or "they are taking over" they are usually mis informed and their racism is usually down to the lack of education.

The police and government alike take a very hard stance when it comes to racism, and have a zero tolerance policy when dealing with it. It is impecable that they deal with any hints of racism there and then otherwise things will just escalate and progressivly get worse. A perfect example of when things go too far, and race relations deteriate so far that riots break out, is in 2005 with the birmingham race riots.

The Birmingham riots happened over two nights on Saturday 22 October and Sunday 23 October 2005 in the Lozells area of Birmingham. The riots were caused by racial tensions between the Black British and South Asian British communities,which started with the alleged gang rape of a teenage black girl by a group of Asian men. However The rape allegation has never been substantiated because no evidence has been found to support the claim and the victim is too scared to come forward due to her immigration status in the country (feared deportation). The viloence mainly consisted of the two racial groups attacking various targets from both communities including shops, chuches and a mosque. The riots were connected to the deaths of two men, 23-year-old Isiah Young-Sam and 18 year old Aaron James.

Maxie Hayles, who is the chairman of the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Group, said the problem transcends economics;

"Afro-Caribbeans have been spending money in Asian shops for many years now, but they don't give them enough respect. They don't employ black people in their shops and it is about the way they treat their customers. The way they look at them." (HAYLES, Maxie, 2005)

Dr Frank Reeves, chief executive of Race Equality West Midlands, said both groups were;

"severely disadvantaged and in competition with each other for jobs and other opportunities." Amid the confusions and all the accusations, he said, the wider causes stand out. "It's about anger, discontent and jealously." (REEVES, Frank, 2005)

This kind of situation creates unnecessary tension which then creates racial hatred against someone purely because of their culture and skin colour. Without government intervention all the police can do is break up the riots, defend key religious buildings such as a church and mosque and hope that inquires will satisfy the discrepancies and ease the tension; other than that, the police cannot do much else as they are only the frontline.

There are a few initiatives set out to help those in need mainly in the form of charities. There are not many dedicated "anyi-racist" charities, charities such as Anti-Racist Action Network or National Organization for Women, concentrate on ending discrimination as a whole.

Culture and Conflict: Connections

Cultures are embedded in every conflict because conflicts arise in human relationships. Cultures affect the ways we name, frame, blame, and attempt to tame conflicts. Whether a conflict exists at all is a cultural question. In an interview conducted in Canada, an elderly Chinese man indicated he had experienced no conflict at all for the previous 40 years.[2] Among the possible reasons for his denial was a cultural preference to see the world through lenses of harmony rather than conflict, as encouraged by his Confucian upbringing. Labeling some of our interactions as conflicts and analyzing them into smaller component parts is a distinctly Western approach that may obscure other aspects of relationships.

Culture is always a factor in conflict, whether it plays a central role or influences it subtly and gently. For any conflict that touches us where it matters, where we make meaning and hold our identities, there is always a cultural component. Intractable conflicts like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the India-Pakistan conflict over Kashmir are not just about territorial, boundary, and sovereignty issues -- they are also about acknowledgement, representation, and legitimization of different identities and ways of living, being, and making meaning.

Conflicts between teenagers and parents are shaped by generational culture, and conflicts between spouses or partners are influenced by gender culture. In organizations, conflicts arising from different disciplinary cultures escalate tensions between co-workers, creating strained or inaccurate communication and stressed relationships. Culture permeates conflict no matter what -- sometimes pushing forth with intensity, other times quietly snaking along, hardly announcing its presence until surprised people nearly stumble on it.

Culture is inextricable from conflict, though it does not cause it. When differences surface in families, organizations, or communities, culture is always present, shaping perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes.

When the cultural groups we belong to are a large majority in our community or nation, we are less likely to be aware of the content of the messages they send us. Cultures shared by dominant groups often seem to be "natural," "normal" -- "the way things are done." We only notice the effect of cultures that are different from our own, attending to behaviors that we label exotic or strange.

Though culture is intertwined with conflict, some approaches to conflict resolution minimize cultural issues and influences. Since culture is like an iceberg -- largely submerged -- it is important to include it in our analyses and interventions. Icebergs unacknowledged can be dangerous, and it is impossible to make choices about them if we don't know their size or place. Acknowledging culture and bringing cultural fluency to conflicts can help all kinds of people make more intentional, adaptive choices.


There is no perfect solution to cross cultural communication difficulties, only ways to improve peoples understandings that there are people who live their lives differently to ours. If we all understood that were all equal even if we belive in different religions or cultures, then there would be a lot less conflict; the key is education. If people dont know any better than they are informed, they will believe that what they are being told is 100% correct with no leeway. Therefore the government needs to educate the population about all the different cultures, especially to those who it may clash with, and hopefully, following that, cross culture communication difficulties will be a thing of the past.