Uk National Stereotypes

Topics: English people, Determinism, England Pages: 5 (1988 words) Published: January 12, 2011

Personality tests indicate that national stereotypes are constructed on the basis of prejudices and rumours. "Themselves" consider them to be superior in all respects to anyone else in the world, allowing other nations to assume a number of qualities, becoming less in number as these countries move away - the farthest country being the poorest in quality. Who are these "themselves"? The Americans, the Germans or the British? They are the Persian, described by the Greek historian Herodotus, in the fifth century before Christ, but this description could be made about almost anyone. Nations tend to treat their people as more or less perfect, while the rest the world is somewhat strange. Most times, nationalistic selfishness is doubled national stereotypes. The Germans are believed to be extremely serious, the Swedes - boring, about the French is said they are conceited. But do these stereotypes have a real basis? Some stereotypes seem to be anchored to a certain extent in reality, to start from a "kernel of truth”. Women are generally considered to have a warm personality and men to be rational: women tend to obtain higher scores on tests of personality than men to chapters relating to heat, while men seem inclined to rational side. In the attempt to get an "average of personality" for each culture, differences in average national figures were small compared to differences between members of each cultural group. There was no a surprise to find that people who lived close to each other showed similarities in terms of personality: the Americans seemed with the Canadians, the South Koreans resemble the Chinese, the South Africans look like people in Zimbabwe. But what is the explanation of these differences? Ellen Churchill Semple wrote at the end of last century that "man is a product of earth surface". Scottish were dull because they were constantly forced to bear the rain, and Swedes were boring because ... Sweden was also boring. This "environmental determinism" showed the negative side when, with genetic determinism, has become the basis of Nazi ideology. When these two concepts became "out of favour" of all nations after the war, they were replaced by cultural determinism. Culture, not the genetic or the environmental heritage, was the factor on which the differences between people were placed. Information provided by Allik McCrae indicates that there could be a number of geographical influences: people who live in countries with warm climates tend to be more open and extroverted, for example. However, the cultural determinism may also have some exceptions: white South Africans have many features in common with Europeans than with black South Africans; also features of the inhabitants of England and Northern Ireland are different. Genetic evolution in recent decades brought back into light the genetic determinism. A number of genetic differences between the Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Hebrew, Africans and Indians were discovered. So, may the genetic differences lead to differences in personality? In the most recent study of Robert McCrae, subjects were asked to evaluate not their own personality but that of a "typical" member of their community. In this context, stereotypes have been revealed: the Germans self-assessed them as being extremely conscientious as people, Australians were described as extroverted, and Canadians were considered to be more agreeable than other people. But these projections of stereotypes are more or less related to the "average personality" of citizens of each country. Germans consider they are conscientious, but attribute this quality to the Turks also, who assess themselves as being rather lazy. Residents of Puerto Rico see themselves as extremely extroverted, but they are more open than the French Swiss, who are assessed as being introverted. How are these stereotypes reflected in the perception of English people? Over the years, the English were associated...

References: 1. Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. (Eds.). (1986). Prejudice, discrimination and racism: Historical rends and contemporary approaches. In Prejudice, discrimination and racism (pp. 1-30). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.
2. Eagly, A. H., & Steffen, V. J. (1984). Gender stereotypes stem from the distribution of women and men into social roles. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 735-754.
3. Judd, C. M., & Park, B. (1993). Definition and assessment of accuracy in social stereotypes. Psychological Review, 100, 109-128.
4. Lee, Y. H., Jussim, J., & McCauley, C., R. (Eds.). (1995). Stereotype accuracy: Toward appreciating group differences. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
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