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A SURVEY OF BRITISH CULTURE

Religion
Henry VIII Act of Supremacy
- Founded the church of England
- Self-created identity (southern identity)
- Independence/ distance from Europe ->
othering
Elizabeth I Church Settlement
- Made the Church of England the state religion
(before: Mary was catholic and protestants
were burned)
- Protestant values (modesty etc.)
The Church of England / the Church of Scotland /
free churches
- Divisions:
England vs. Scotland -> regional
high vs. Low church in England -> social
(class)
high: catholic wing, upper class
low: protestant wing, working class
- Uniqueness = Britishness
The Monarchy
State Opening of
Parliament

The monarch
- Role in society

Politics
Role oft he parties, the
MP, the Monarch, House
of Commons, House of
Lords
The Glorious Revolution
and its effects, what
happened before? ->
the constitutional
monarchy

marks the commencement of a session (= every


year) of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and
includes a Speech from the Throne (Queens
Speech)
extremely elaborate ceremony showcasing British
history, culture, and contemporary politics
Maintaining tradition throughout history
our royal family
British institutions (church, education, politics) were
founded by monarchs
Rather neutral (do not propose laws) represent
everybody
National pride (-> Empire)
Loyality to the crown is highly regarded

17th century:
Stuart monarchy did what they wanted
-> faces parliament opposition
civil wars between parliamentarians and royalists
->> parliament wins = Glorious Revolution (people

say, no blood was spilt)


Britain becomes a republic lead by Oliver
Cromwell (puritan)
Cromwell became too extreme and king-like,
introduced absurd laws
parliament invites back a Stuart King; he did not
do his job well though
William (Dutch) succeeded to the throne as
Britains first constitutional monarch

First past the post

Constitutional monarchy: separation of powers


Judicial judges, courts of la
Executive government (-> cabinet = 21 senior
ministers), PM, (formally also the monarch)
Legislative house of commons (elected) passes bill
on to the house of Lords (not elected) passes bill on
to the monarch can become a law
= electoral system oft he UK parliament
constituencies elect a single MP each
only the candidate with the most votes in the
constituency wins, All other votes count for nothing
criticism: representative?
Easy to understand vs. You can win with little
support
Supports two-party-system vs. You cant differenciate
between vote for candidate and vote for party
Easy vs. Encourages tactical votes

The legal system/ law and order


Barrister vs. Solicitor
2 types of lawyers: barristers and solicitors
Criticized because of a dublication of services, delay
and expense
Solicitors: middle-class, general legal work in firms/
private

Crown Court

Barristers: self-employed, have the right to appear in


front of any court in England and Wales, often pretty
specialized
2 levels of criminal courts:
Magistrates Court (lower, busiest, less serious)
Crown Court (higher, more serious crimes)
Magistrates used to be locally well-known white
middle- or upper class males; nowadays more
diverse though
Jury system (randomly chosen people) is the
citizens link with the legal process and gives it
some kind of common sense. Criticized (no
experts, rate of acquittals to high, threats against
jurors, )

Education
The Forster Act 1870
The Butler Act (1944
Education Act)

Comprehensives (=
comprehensive schools)
1964

11 plus

National Curriculum

local school boards were created which financed and


built elementary schools (England&Wales)
- state schooling became free and compulsory
up to the age of 15
- introduction of the tripartite:: primary schools;
secondary schools; post-school training
- 2 types of schools: voluntary (mostly founded
by religious groups) and county schools
- introduction of 11-plus
- decentrelized system with LEAs (local
education authorities)
introduced by the labour party
aim: end selection/ social division
(~ Gesamtschule); LEAs could dicide wether or not
they wanted to introduce comprehensives (labour
party made them popular acrouss the country more
and more)
(following the 1944 Education Act (=Butler Act)) The
eleven-plus examination was adopted by most
LEAs,consisted of intelligence testswhich covered
linguistic, mathematical and general knowledge and
was taken in the last year of primary school at the
age of eleven. The object was to differentiate
between academic and non-academic children, and
it introduced the notion of selection based on
ability. Those who passed the eleven-plus went to
the grammar school, while those who failed went to
the secondary modern and technical schools.
(in England&Wales, similar in Northern Ireland but
not Scotland)
The aim was to create a curriculum for primary and
secondary levels which was standardized, centrally
divised and appropriate to the needs and demands
oft he contemporary world
Not applicable to independent schools even though
they follow the subject structure
Tied to a system of examinations at the secondary
level;
Levels: GCSE; AS; GCE A level)