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Notion d'anglais : Spaces and Exchanges. What is today’s Britishness ?

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Notion d’anglais n°4 : Spaces and Exchanges

I am going to talk about spaces and exchanges.

First of all, I would like to give a definition of this notion. This deals with a continuous movement or circulation. This can be all kinds of exchanges : people, trade, media... But in class, we talked more about human exchanges so to illustrate the notion i have chosen 2 documents : an exctract from the text "this is my England" published in The Guardian and written by Andrea Levy. And an extract from a book titled “Shame” written by Jasvinder Sanghera, it’s her autobiography. Through these documents we will try to answer the following problematic : What is today’s Britishness ?

First of all, I must specify that National identity is generally constructed by a shared history, language, culture and ethnic origin but Britain is not the same as it used to be a few decades ago. It has become a multicultural society.

To Begin we will see what being British means to young people whose parents are immigrants because in the two documents, the narrators are british with foreign origins.

In the first text, the girl is British with Jamaican origins. Her father arrived in England in 1948 and she thinks being british is having a western education. She was educated to be English. She was born in England and she knows the british culture. In the second text, Jasvinder Sanghera seems to think that being British is being free. She talks about her white friends who have a boyfriend, who can choose their future independently.

Now, we’ll see that immigrations are an asset to Britain.

We can take the example of the mayor of London, Sadik Khan who comes from a modest family of Pakistani origin. We can also speak about Malala who came to live in England after being shot. There are very smart persons.

However, integration is also a real challenge.

It is sometimes difficult. Minorities are torn between two cultures. Jaswinder Sanghera is a british woman, whose parents came from India. One day, one day her mother showed her a picture of a man telling her that it was her future

husband. She tought that it was a joke, but it was not. She is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to finish school and go to university. She would like to ask her teacher for help, but she is afraid of whater family and community would say about it.

In both documents, the girls have a western education and they are british but they both refuse to turn their backs on their family’s values and tradition.

To conclude we can say that there is a difference between being British, feeling British, and being considered British


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