The How To Be British Collections (two booklets each composed of 32 comic postcards and equally comic comments) humorously portray the British showing their supposed national features. A representative sample from the booklets is scrutinised in this article by applying social psychological research on stereotypes with a stylistic approach. The main research purpose is to prove that the British stereotypes in the postcards are normally depicted as positive and those about foreigners and language learners as negative. Hence, the research hypothesis is that British culture and identity are extolled in the booklets, and that the non-British are represented as somehow deficient and flawed, in other words, as the actual grotesque characters in the postcards. Linguistic investigation indeed discloses that the British ethnic, social and cultural superiority over foreigners is implicitly celebrated in the booklets, along with their British protagonists and the appealing national characteristics typifying them. With regard to language learners, they allegedly lack politeness, heritage and the other positive aspects identified by social psychological studies; therefore, they are depicted as involved in ludicrous activities, a representation characterising them as hopelessly foolish and as mentally and even physically faulty.

British stereotypes in two humorous collections of postcards: a stylistic examination

VIRDIS, DANIELA FRANCESCA
2015

Abstract

The How To Be British Collections (two booklets each composed of 32 comic postcards and equally comic comments) humorously portray the British showing their supposed national features. A representative sample from the booklets is scrutinised in this article by applying social psychological research on stereotypes with a stylistic approach. The main research purpose is to prove that the British stereotypes in the postcards are normally depicted as positive and those about foreigners and language learners as negative. Hence, the research hypothesis is that British culture and identity are extolled in the booklets, and that the non-British are represented as somehow deficient and flawed, in other words, as the actual grotesque characters in the postcards. Linguistic investigation indeed discloses that the British ethnic, social and cultural superiority over foreigners is implicitly celebrated in the booklets, along with their British protagonists and the appealing national characteristics typifying them. With regard to language learners, they allegedly lack politeness, heritage and the other positive aspects identified by social psychological studies; therefore, they are depicted as involved in ludicrous activities, a representation characterising them as hopelessly foolish and as mentally and even physically faulty.
national-ethnic stereotypes; self-stereotypes; social psychology; stylistics; The How To Be British Collections
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/60788
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