Describe and explain the social construction of Britishness in a culture known to you
The aim of this essay is to describe and explain the social construction of Britishness in a culture known to me. Therefore, as I am from Spain and I live in a tourist area, I will explain first what “Social constructions mean” and then I will focus on the famous stereotype that Spanish people tend to think about British tourists. Concretely, I will focus on how Spanish people think that British people get out of control when they are on holiday and that they do not do an effort to integrate in Spain.
Since we are born, we are categorized unconsciously in a series of roles that defines us as an individual and as a group of identities that are socially constructed. These roles are marked by the various ways that different cultures develop and use biological categories such as (gender, age, sex, ethnicity, and so forth) and physical categories such as occupation and region. These are not the only sources of identity, but they are a significant selection of the main sources of identity in modern societies such as in Britain and Spain. Identity gives us the idea of “who we are”, however, these socially constructed view permits us to find out how we see ourselves and how others see us.
These differences between people, we can call them “labels” as E.Cone and G.Levine mention in their book Identity, Formation, Agency, and Culture. These labels can be defined as general expectations that others relate to you in terms of how you should behave considering the values and norms. These “labels” or expectations will be different between two people from different countries as their norms, traditions, occupation, region and therefore, identities are different.
Following this, “the social construction of Britishness” means how the British society has its own values, norms, and forms of behavior. Subsequently, we can see certain forms of integrations (forms of belonging) when British people come to Spain in order to live there or only to stay there temporally for some months or even to stay only for holiday. In other words, we can see certain social construction of Britishness in Spain.
Benidorm, a Spain town also known as Costa Blanca, is one of the first choices for British People and other European tourists for going on holiday. Benidorm is a perfect village for tourists as it offers a large range of choices to do, such as fantastic nightlife, home-from-home bars, restaurants, the most popular beaches of Costa Blanca, and certainly the Spanish Sunshine. For that reason, Benidorm is one of the most famous tourist towns in Spain. Thai it is why it has tourists of all ages. However, the problem comes when these British tourists doesn’t integrate well or doesn’t do the effort to integrate in Spain.
Karis Wales Crowley (the spokesperson of British people in Benidorm) explains in the Spanish newspaper the Dial that she really regrets the attitude of his compatriots as they are creating “British little villages”. In fact, she tells a true history of an old British tourist that after her arrival in a Hotel in Benidorm she denounced the agency that sold her holidays as she claimed that in Benidorm there are too many Spaniards and that she can’t understand them. The old British tourist expected that it would be more British people in the hotel. Moreover, Crowley, reports in the newspaper the Dial that in the 27 years that she has been living in Benidorm, she has seen how some bars and pubs have become a replica of English pubs. But what it is more surprising is that according to the Newspaper the Dial, 36% of Spanish people have feel as a stranger in their own country as they have found out that in some bars and restaurants, the waiters are only able to speak English.
In addition, Crowley reported in the Spanish newspaper “El confidential” that there are too many British people they don’t go to the Municipal Spanish Community officers in order to register themselves because there, people don’t speak Spanish and they find everything very difficult. In addition, Crowley as a native British affirms that the stereotype that the British people come to Spain to retire and to enjoy free health is true. She affirms also that the Spanish Government should make easier the process of registering in Spain, and that the government should explain or to give more voice about the importance of registering, as most British tourist that came to Spain to live does not know that they have to register into the register of inhabitants offices.
Even though there are British people that come to Spain in order to retire, according to the newspaper El confidential, most of the tourists that come to Spain, are young people their main aim is to have fun. As stated by Confidential 48% of the British tourists that came to Spain in order to have fun and go to parties, are between 24-31 years old. What is more surprising is the specific” case of Tomek”. A homeless man that used to live in Benidorm but after being humiliated by a group of young British tourists decided to live in another country. The group of young tourists were celebrating the bachelor party, and they thought that it was fun to pay a hundred euros to Tomek, in exchange of getting the name and address of the boyfriend tattooed on his forehead.
Another famous city that British people tend to go on holiday is Barcelona, concretely, the district called “La Barceloneta”. As maintained by an analysis of the area (Analysis of socio-cultural impacts from the perspective of the tourism resident that generates in the neighborhood of Barceloneta, Spain), 94% of the neighborhood stated that British tourism were beneficial for Barcelona. However, Joan Batllori an 80-year-old resident of Barcelona claimed that he was fed up that unknown groups of tourists ring the ball at dawn. In the analysis were also discussions about how Spain is one of the easiest and most accessible European countries for an immigrant to come to without paying any tax. Also, an easy country to enter through customs and easy to live hidden, without anyone asking for you. That explains why most British and other Europeans live as “tourists” instead of registering themselves into the office as an immigrant.
One extreme case of harmful tourism that it seems that has become a mode nowadays is “balconing”. The term “balconing” means to jump into a swimming pool from the balcony. This famous way of making tourism is one of the most extreme principal deaths of British tourism in Spain. As reported by the BBC newspaper, during the summer of 2018, eleven British holidaymakers have been reported as falling from a balcony, with eight of them in their teens or 20s. Five of those eleven died from injuries, according to the Association of British Travel Agents.
Furthermore, according to Martínez and Rodríguez in their article called Nuevos retos para el turimo en un mundo en crisis, talks about the term” turismofobia”. This term means to have a phobia to tourism, concretely referring to those Spanish people who are fed up of tourists and that it’s difficult for them to make a “normal” life. In the article, there are also discussions about how the government of Spain is so permissive and that should take more control over the people who enter and leave Spain. Moreover, the article relates how people who work for at tourist places such as bars, restaurants, discos, and pubs, claim a lack of security and vigilance by the police.
After having analyzed in the newspapers the attitude of British people and their integration when they come to Spain, I can conclude that the stereotype that British people get out of control and that they do not do an effort to integrate in Spain is true. Furthermore, I can conclude that the British tourist that came to Spain in order to have fun are young people in their 20s. At the contrary, those tourists that do not make the effort to integrate are concrete people who came to Spain in order to retire. However, part of the blame of the harmful tourist is the lack of governmental Spanish administration. You cannot expect to have tourism of quality if the police do not act when all these types of wild tourism occur. Therefore, I believe that before judging an action or making a stereotype we should seek first and pay attention if there are other external causes that are helping or contributing to the growth of these stereotypes.
- E. Cote, James, Charles G.Levine, (2002). Identity, Formation, Agency, and culture. New York: Psychology Press
- Karin Maling Crowley. (20/08/2019). ‘Los ingleses no se adaptan en España’ Ideal
- Karen Maling Cowles .(11/08/2018). La vos de los británicos en Benidorm: ‘No podemos ser una carga para España’ El confidential,
- Amalilla Canto, Carlos. (2016). Analisis de los impactos socioculturales desde la perspectiva del residente del turismo que genera en el barrio de la Barceloneta, España. Revista de Ocio y turismo, (1), 4, . (13/06/2018). Balcony deaths: British tourist warned after 11 falls in three months. BBC News,
- Martínez y Rodríguez, . (2011). Nuevos retos para el turismo en un mundo en crisis. Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, (),
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