Pride and Prejudice: Two Cultures and the North East’s Transition
The economic fortunes of the North East of England have long provided a wealth of material for examination. This chapter addresses the cultural dimensions. Specifically the region's economic transition is exhibiting and being influenced by a 'struggle' between two cultures. The first is indigenous, supposedly 'traditional' and is internal, historic, distinctive, proud, prejudiced, intransigent and hedonistic. The second is external, post-modern, bland, prejudiced and also hedonistic in the sense that it seeks to create opportunities for pleasure. Large industrial plants concentrated employment and culture simultaneously. The dependency of communities on coal-mining, before and during nationalization, is well documented. Pride in one's culture relates not only to the satisfaction and self-worth exhibited toward the outward expressions of cultural achievements but also relates to the values and attitudes which lie behind these. External perceptions of the North East are themselves historic; a long literary and artistic tradition portrays the North as a foreign country.