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Cornish identity - Essay Example

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In a society, an individual takes different roles, which is why his identity too changes with each context. An individual is identified as a person, as a part of a community, religion, culture, race, gender and so on…
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Cornish identity
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Cornish identity

Download file to see previous pages... In a society, an individual takes different roles, which is why his identity too changes with each context. An individual is identified as a person, as a part of a community, religion, culture, race, gender and so on. As today's societies are multicultural, people of different cultures co-exist and identities are being given more prominence. People follow diverse religions and come from different races. National identity in the contemporary world means a group of people following the social culture. Even people of different religions speak the same language, eat the same food, dress in a similar way, and follow a common lifestyle and social behavior. "Thus, culture determines national identity. Culture makes a nation's growth and evolution possible; culture is an ingrained aspect of society through its historical experience rather than a collection of codes or conventions that are imposed by theocratic or secular state systems." (Koushan 2008). A knowledge about their separate religions and races will not act as a barrier in being a part of the nation in which they live. This paper analyses the Cornish identity and its formation using examples.Benedict Anderson, in his article 'Imagined Communities' say that nation is just a concept created by the society. Individuals in a nation are not all familiar with each other. Still, there exists a kind of nationhood in them when someone represents their nation in international events. I propose the following "definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign." (Anderson 1999, p.6). Cornwall is a part of the British Isles, where a vast majority of its inhabitants consider themselves as Cornish and not as British or English. The Cornish people are proud of their Cornish identity and consider Cornwall as a different imagined community. Bernard Deacon in his book says, "Our names therefore define who we are in the present, who we were in the past and the imagined community to which we belong now and once belonged." (Deacon 2004, p.56). Presently, the inhabitants of Cornwall include a lot of immigrant people, reducing the percentage of population of Cornish birth to 50. However, studies show that it is not the number that matters, but their thoughts. Carrick District council did a private sector housing survey in 1996 and it was found that despite a low percentage of native Cornish people, more than 37 percent of the population called themselves Cornish and not their original ethnic group. "Again, this implies a considerable willingness to self-define as 'Cornish'. This is especially the case as the Cornish-born are more likely to be in public sector housing." (Perceptions).
Cornishness is represented and evident in their language, sports, politics, geography and even commercial products. "Despite the communications and transport revolution, international media and the inward migration of the twentieth century, Cornwall remains nevertheless decidedly special." (Cornwall 2007). Among these, Cornish language is of great significance in their lives. In the sixteenth century, English was imposed on the Cornish people and this was opposed and resisted by many people. As a result, modern Cornish emerged in the eighteenth century. It was successfully revived in the twentieth century with slight changes and Cornish is a language which people commonly use to speak and write. This situation is the result of a conscious effort to revive the language. Now, it is taught in schools and colleges in order to popularize it even more. There are films made in Cornish. Cornwall has hosted the International Celtic Film Festival in which Cornish films are included. There are magazines in Cornish and many shops are named in Cornish. As a result, the UK government officially recognized Cornish language as a minority language, which is a real achievement for the Cornish people. Nick Raynsford, the Local government and Regions Minister said, "This is a positive step in acknowledging the symbolic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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