How accurate is it to describe the UK as a cohesive political culture?
We all know that the UK is a democracy but certain people argue about what stage of a democracy we are in - How accurate is it to describe the UK as a cohesive political culture? introduction. To determine whether the UK is a cohesive political culture we need to first need to understand what cohesive and culture really mean.
The New Collins English Dictionary defines cohesive as: the act or state of cohering; tendency to unite. It also defines culture as: 1. The ideas, customs, and art produced or shared by a particular society. 2. A particular civilisation at a particular period. 2. Activity or an interest in the arts in general. So what the statement is really saying, is the UK a united political society? This has to take into account all the factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, social class, and religion. Over this essay I will be trying to work out if the UK is a cohesive political culture.
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Firstly I think that is it fair to say that our culture is based, at this moment in time, over race and religion. This could be due to the recent terrorist attack on 11th September on the Trade Towers and the Pentagon but I think that this only sparked off the tension between the whites and the coloured minority. It can be said that people from the ethnic minority are more prone to discrimination, both socially and in the workplace, than other people.
Racial discrimination continues to disfigure many areas of life, and racial prejudices are easily aroused, as was seen recently in the case of the asylum seekers. Ethnic minorities do not enjoy full equality of opportunity, and valuable talents are wasted. Of course this is not the whole representation of the whole of UK but I do strongly believe that they are not given a fair chance. This leads the ethnic minority not to vote because they know that it will not get better for them.
The Future of Multi-ethnic Britain is an attempt to take a calm and long-term view of the current state of our Multi-ethnic nation and suggest ways of countering racial discrimination and disadvantage and making Britain a society that is at ease with its rich diversity. It can be said that the government is taking measure to make sure that racial discrimination does not happen but we still have a long way to go. If we do succeed in making a Multi-racial Britain then you are more likely to see political apathy to rise considerably. !!
After race and religion, we are still heavily based on a system of class. There are two main definitions of class. One derives from Karl Marx, the other from Max Weber. Sometimes elements from the two definitions are combined. The Marxist view of social classes emphasises economic aspects. A social class is defined according to its relationship to the productive process in society. In capitalist societies, according to Marx, there are three main classes. First, there is the capitalist class or bourgeoisie. Secondly, there is the petit-bourgeoisie. The third, and most numerous classes, is the working class.
The Weberian view of social classes combines several criteria in delineating classes, including income, education and political influence. Unlike Marx, Weber did not regard classes as potential corporate groups; he did not believe that members of social classes necessarily would have shared political interests. Weber preferred to speak of status groups rather than classes.
Some ethnic groups have moved to towns or regional centres where they are brought into contact with people with other customs, languages and identities.
I do not think that it will ever be possible to ever have a classless society purely based on the fact that people nowadays came never be contempt with what they have, they will always want more. Inter-linked in with class are a variety of things such as money and education. These are factors from both the Weberian and the Marxist view would have in common. To have status as in the Marxist view, you need to have the money and education. People who earn the most and have had a good education tend to be upper class, these are people who own businesses and factories. The people who work in the factories tend to be the lower classes. They sell their labour to make a profit for others. The move from middle class to upper class is not that hard but if trying to move from lower class to the working class it is much harder.
In the government at the moment they are less towards taxing the rich but more towards capitalism. This is a significant point as to why the UK cannot be a cohesive political culture. If the government, which is the politics, cannot make a homogeneity culture then what hope is there? To make a homogeneous culture everybody should be similar in accordance to wealth and status. This would mean taxing the rich and funding the poor. But at the moment I think that the New Labour Party is more into looking good rather than the older one where taxing the rich was not an option. The rich upper class people tend to vote for the labour party as they are in favour of capitalism but the lower classes either tend not to vote or vote for a party such as the liberals who tax the rich.
Until these factors have not been sorted out we cannot have a homogeneous nation. The history of a nation often has a tendency to be written in an exclusive manner, stressing some groups or traditions at the expense of others. It is therefore always a contested site and constantly rewritten. The report proposes that, in the light of our changed circumstances, we need to reconsider the traditional view of our history and open it up to new sensibilities and aspirations.
National identity is not given once and for all and cannot be preserved as if it were an antique piece of furniture. The so-called white majority itself consists of groups of people divided along cultural, religious and other lines. This is equally true of the minority. Since Britain does not consist of cohesive majorities and minorities, we should think of it as a looser federation of cultures held together by common bonds of interest and affection and a collective sense of belonging.
So overall, I can conclude that there is no way that we can have a cohesive political culture at this moment in time. but it certainly seems to be getting better in some aspects such as gender where women are getting an equal chance in men as life. In the future who knows? In my opinion for us to have a united culture we need to make sure that everybody has an equal chance in life as everybody else. If these factors are fixed then the political apathy is going to rise and people are going to feel more passionate about living in a self-confident and cohesive democracy.