- Why Salsa Rather Than Sport or Church?
In my previous post I described some of the benefits of participating in Adopted Cultural Practices (yoga, samba, salsa etc.), such as acting together with a group of people and feeling connected to them as a result. This is something that is widely accepted as important for health and wellbeing, and recreates for us a […]
- Coronavirus, Adopted Cultures and Real Togetherness
At the end of March 2020 there is only one topic of conversation in the UK: coronavirus. It is affecting every aspect of life, public and private, work and play, mental and physical. It has meant social isolation for most of us. For some, such as old people living alone, this can be extreme, for […]
- Reclaiming Community Expression
The fascinating question arises why Adopted Cultural Practices like yoga, samba and salsa are so widespread and popular in contemporary Western societies. From Los Angeles to Athens we can find people who adore these activities and devote much of their leisure time to behaving like imagined people from a far away culture. I am going […]
- What Are ‘Adopted Cultural Practices’?
I think it would be useful, before I go any further, to name and describe some of the activities which I would count unequivocally as Adopted Cultural Practices. Of course, there are myriad examples of people ‘borrowing’ music, clothes or food from cultures in which they have not grown up. What I want to address […]
- Why do Salsa, Yoga and Samba Matter?
There is a collection of activities which are very widespread in European and North American societies, which tell us a great deal about people’s interests, hopes, fears and attitudes. They provide huge benefits, and some risks, but are little studied and discussed by academics and the media. I have been calling them Adopted Cultural Practices, […]
Yesterday I was asked to do an interview with Radio Cymru about the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the German city of Dresden by British and American bombing. The event is iconic because of the intensity of the fire storm that sucked people into the inferno and deprived them of oxygen in their shelters, […]
- Today We Leave.
Today the UK leaves the EU. A momentous moment, an unprecedented event, a tragedy even. Sure. We like to think of countries and international organisations as stable and immutable, but of course they are not. Since the UK joined the EU another 20 odd countries have done so. Much of this happened because the Soviet […]
- German and Exotic
So, why did I, a German coming from England to Wales, feel the need to learn Welsh? I could easily have thought ‘well, I’ve already had to learn English — that will do’. I think there was a part of me that regarded it as just going through the same process of learning and integration […]
- Second Time Immigrant – Wales
It is not just Germans who can be ambivalent about their background. Questions of identity are among the most vexing and widely debated of our time. One of the distinctions that could be drawn is between people who look to affirm their inherited identity, and those who are more interested in a fluid existence amongst […]
- We Don’t Like Each Other Either
I assume that the ambivalence about their German identity felt by the post-War generation is the reason they tend to be standoffish towards each other abroad. Not for us the delight of meeting a compatriot far from home, the immediate interest and enjoyment of shared language and culture which is typical of many other nationalities […]