A study by the think tank Chatham House has concluded that many European cultures, with their emphasis on personal freedom and social justice, have contributed to the development of a vibrant and flourishing cultural heritage.
The research has found that while there is no single ‘cultural’ identity that is ‘the norm’, there are a range of values and practices that can be traced to different aspects of European life.
In particular, Chatham’s report found that the values that are most widely associated with the UK are “liberty, equality, justice, the rule of law, respect for the law, and social solidarity” and that the most prevalent cultural values are “individualism, individualism, and self-sufficiency”.
Chatham’s research was published in the British Journal of Sociology, and it was commissioned by the British Association for Cultural Studies.
The report examined how the cultural values that underpinned the UK’s economic success, and its international status, are reflected in other parts of the world, including the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
A number of findings emerged from the study.
First, the UK has a relatively small number of people who consider themselves British, with only 7 per cent of British adults identifying as a ‘British’ person, while the US has a higher proportion of Americans identifying as British (12 per cent) than the UK (10 per cent).
Second, a strong cultural identity is linked to economic success.
Chivalric chants, a favourite British pastime, and traditional music have been linked to British economic success and the British military in particular.
“The more people are exposed to the culture, the more likely they are to think that the UK is a very successful place,” said the report’s author, Professor Martin Davenport.
Third, the study found that British people are more likely to embrace the values of personal liberty, equality and justice than Australians, New Zealanders, or people in the US.
And fourth, it found that people in New Zealand, Australia and the UK have a higher level of tolerance towards religious intolerance than people in other countries.
Professor Daventon added: “We need to acknowledge that the world is full of people of many different cultures, but if we value the values we have that are shared by all people we can ensure that our global cultural and economic development is based on the values people value and embrace.”
The UK’s cultural and intellectual success has enabled us to forge a global cultural, economic and social partnership and we have the opportunity to continue to create a more tolerant, peaceful and tolerant world for future generations.