Monday, February 8, 2010

Book -"European Stereotypes" by Tony Connelly

Quotations from the book:

"The book is a highly-informed, though conversational discourse on how we view different cultures and how these views were formed." - Tony Connelly

"Stereotypes,Lippman suggested, are pictures in our heads that allow us to manage this new environment - 'the great blooming, buzzing confusion of the outer world' - and simplify it. The problem is that it encourages swift judgment of those with whom we share the world,leading to conflict and tension. 'For the most part we do not first see,and define; we define and then see.'" (p.7)

"According to Marco Cinnerella, of the University of London, stereotypes can lie dormant,springing to the surface when people - even thosewho fancy themselves as tolerant and well traveled - are mentally stretched by stress, tiredness or doing too many things atthe same time. How many time we have blurted out "Bloody french!" when under stress, even thought we think of our selves as rather fond of the French?
Stereotyping may not just be something we learn from the media or Carry On films. In 1983, a study showed that the brain stores information in discrete mental structure called nodes. Each node corresponds to a single concept - a name, place, a personality trait. The nodes are interlinked,and these links map out meaningful associations between the concepts. The linkages in turn biuld a mental image (e.g. French = arrogant). The stronger the link,the stronger the mental image. ....
How quickly do we categorise people? According to Don Operario and Susan T. Fiske in the Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology, perceivers categorise people immediately - within milliseconds of the first encounter. "(p. 8)

"The rise in literacy and the boom in political cartooning and pamphleteer(
pamphlet-booklet) elevated stereotyping to a serious artform. National caricatures could be easily shaped and solidified by a single powerful cartoon image (for the Irish, it was often-times an ape)." (p.13)

"And what about the Irish today?
It has become a cliche to say that we have punched above our weight in EU affairs. Our ability to mix business and humour to a disarming degree, our small-nation status and the fact that we've objectives. We love farmers, .....We're generally perceived as likeable, articulate negotiators."(p.15)

"What of Irish stereotypes beyond Brussels? The sharp end has been in oir relationship with Britain. Concocting the image of the wild, uncivilized Irishman. ... John Bull embodied the virtues of the rational,hardworking, individualistic, law-abiding Englishman, while Paddy was his polar opposite, unruly, drunken, brawling, superstitious and lazy"(p.16)

"....We were(are) redheads, Ireland was green, we had poets and playwrights, we were Catholic, ate potatoes, fought the English.... We drank Guinness, got drunk, had the Dubliners, u2, Sinead O'Connor. We were generally sociable, especially when drink was involved."(p.17)

"Is there still room in the 21st century for stereotypes?... globalization have begun to erode local cliches. Urban teenagers largely look the same across the planet:same clothes and gadgets, music and films, facebook and myspace "(p.22)

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