Representation of Regional Identity Regional Identity refers to the part of the United Kingdom someone is from. It could refer to a general area such a “north” or “south”, a country such as “English” or “Scottish” or specific towns such as “London” or “Manchester.” There are several regional stereotypes widely seen on television:
•Scottish – often shown as being money obsessed, won’t pay for anything, drinks a lot of alcohol, loves the outdoors, wears kilts, eats haggis, quite aggressive and violent
•Welsh –Often shown as living in the middle of the countryside, less intelligent, good at singing (Male voice choirs),with people making jokes about them “shagging sheep”
• Irish – often shown as living in the countryside, working in rural areas such as farms, being very religious, being good at dancing and singing (love a good craic), very friendly but less intelligent
• English – often shown as being racist (think St George cross on houses or cars), obsessed with beer and football living in London. Sometimes the stereotype goes in the opposite direction of showing English people as very rich, posh, happy, living in castles and being very “royal.”
•London – There are two main stereotypes of Londoners. One is that they are often shown as being rich, posh, snobby, upper class, Hugh Grant types from central or west london. The other is that they often shown as being from north, east or south London, poor, common, lower class, criminalistic, violent “Kidulthood” style
•Manchester / Newcastle / Liverpool – Often shown as being “chavs”, wearing fake designer labels, or tracksuits, drinking a lot, being aggressive, uneducated, criminals
• Essex – often shown as being glamorous but cheap, footballer’s wives, lots of partying, being quite stupid
•Yorkshire – Often shown as living in rural countryside, with rolling hills and cobbled streets, being quite old fashioned (despite Yorkshire being the biggest county and containing large cities such as: Leeds, York and Sheffield)
•Cornwall / Somerset – Often shown as being “backwards”, living in rural areas, working on farms •South England – often shown as being the centre of culture, modern, classy, clever, sunny, richer, doing middle class jobs where one dresses smartly
•North England – often shown as being poorer, bad weather, lower class, aggressive, less culture, less clever, doing working class jobs such as builders etc
If you get “regional identity” as an issue in the exam, you should be thinking about the following things when watching the clip (use these bullet points to analyse the clip):
•Can I identify where the characters are from within the country?
•Are people from different areas shown as having different interests, personalities, attitudes, behaviours? If so, how?
• Is their regional identity represented as being important in their life?
•Are people from particular regions portrayed as being better, more powerful, than others?
•Are people from particular regions portrayed as being abnormal /weaker/ more pathetic than others? •How do other characters in the clip treat the characters from different regions?
• What is the message the clip is trying to portray about regional identity?
Discuss the ways the extract constructs representations of regional identity.