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CONSERVATISM

The British have few living folk traditions and are too individualistic to have the same everyday habits as each other. However, this does not mean that they like change. They don't. They may not behave in traditional ways, but they like symbols of tradition and stability. For example, there are some very untraditional attitudes and habits with regard to the family in modern Britain. Nevertheless, politicians often cite their enthusiasm for ‘traditional family values’(both parents married and living together, parents as the main source of authority for children etc.) as a way of winning support.

In general, the British value continuity over modernity for its own sake. They do not consider it especially smart to live in a new house and, in fact, there is prestige in living in an obviously old one. They have a general sentimental attachment to older, supposedly safer, times. Their Christmas cards usually depict scenes from past centuries; they like their pubs to look old; they were reluctant to change their system of currency.

Moreover, a look at children’s reading habits suggests that this attitude is not going to change. Publishers try hard to make their books for children up-to-date. But perhaps they needn't try so hard. In 1992 the two most popular children's writers were noticeably un-modern (they were both, in fact, dead). The most popular of all was Roald Dahl, whose fantasy stories are set in a rather old-fashioned world. The second most popular writer was Enid Blyton, whose stories take place in a comfortable white middle-class world before the I960s. They contain no references to other races or classes and mention nothing more modern than a radio. In other words, they are mostly irrelevant to modern life.

 


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 962


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