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8.30.2017

DilysDavies

From:
Dilys R. Davies (2001) Within and Without (The Story of the Welsh). The Impact of Cultural Factors on Mental Health in the Present Day in Wales. In Dinesh Bhugra and Roland Littlewood (eds) Colonialism and Psychiatry. Oxford University Press 2001.

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... the Dependency-Spectator-Submissive constellation outlined by Bateson. The main method through which this elaboration was achieved was the psychological tactic which Kelly (1955) describes as 'constriction', which deals with the world both at a personal and national level. Here we narrow our range of operations and thus place other options outside our range. In Wales, as historians such as John Davies (1993) and Aitchison and Carter (1994) document, the language itself was subjected to a progressive constriction in the areas in which it was used with a consequent reduction of its status. In the areas of law, administration and government,
...
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The dominated group are typically marginalized and are seen as deviating from the social norm. They are regarded as the pathology of the dominant or 'healthy' society and are labelled as 'incompetent' or 'lazy' by the dominating group who seek to make them integrate to its own patterns by changing their mentality. 

Education and a form of paternalism in the guise of 'improving' a people can be used as such a means to make people fit better with a dominant culture. An example of this is the Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales of 1847, (the Treachery of the Blue Books). This report on the system of education through the medium of Welsh pointed out the moral laxness of the Welsh. As a result of the report, education through the medium of English was established, and English became the sole language of the schools. Welsh came to be regarded as a language children were better off without. Because teachers' pay was normally based on results and Welsh was not part of the recognised curriculum, the use of Welsh was actively discouraged by teachers—
and in many instances, by parents whose motivation simply reflected the
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 ... John Davies states, '...in most of the schools of Welsh-speaking Wales, there were pupils whose main experience of education was a mechanical drilling in a language which they did not understand; as late as 1960, it was possible to meet old people who remembered nothing of their schooldays except the learning by rote of a book known to them as "Redimarisi" (Reading Made Easy)' (1990: 455-6).

As we saw earlier on in this chapter, human beings do not exist in silence. Language cannot exist without thought, and neither language nor thought can exist without a structure to which they refer. Fanon points out for the dominating group, 'The words of his own class come to be the 'true" words which he imposes or attempts to impose on others: the oppressed, whose words have been stolen from them. Those who steal the words of others develop as deep doubt in the abilities of the others and consider them incompetent. Each time they say their word without hearing the word of those whom they have forbidden to speak, they grow more accustomed to power and acquire a taste for guiding, ordering, and commanding. They can no longer live without having someone to give orders to' (1970: 115).

Another way of manipulation is through pacts or reforms offered by the dominant society. Almost always these come about in response to the demands of the historical process. As a way of preserving its position, the dominator may accept or carry out reforms before people get too angry, as long as the reforms do not affect their power of decision. In Wales, this has been reflected, for example, in the government's attitude of grudging concessions and reforms in areas such as public administration, education, political and legislative developments, and in public broadcasting. In public administration, there were attempts to gain official recognition for the Welsh language but successive governments proved difficult to be convinced. The positive steps which were won in the first half of the twentieth century were the result of long, hard campaigns. However, as far as public life was concerned, Welsh language continued to have no status. In education, although there were a few concessions to to Welsh people earlier on in the century, it was not until 1944 that a legislation was passed to enable the provision of Welsh-medium schools and it was not until 1956 that the first Welsh-medium secondary school. Full recognition for Welsh education finally came in 1988. Regarding political and legislative developments,
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...
persons or groups but a repertoire of constructions evolved over time through the relationship between two groups. Over time, this is manifested in our relationship to ourselves as well as in our relationship to others. According to Kelly (1955), we experience ourselves and our world through constructs or bipolar dimensions that we have developed through our experience in which. each group takes up position on opposite ends of a bipolar construct, e.g. either dominating-submitting, active-passive, etc. The same concepts may be seen in the work of Freire, Fannon and Fromm, who analyse the pattern of relationships between dominant and dominating groups. This may be seen as what psychotherapists such as Ryle (1990) terms a reciprocal role process. This involves not just the relationship between two sets of constructs belonging to two separate groups but includes the concept, the notion that the constructs of one group are internalized by the other group and become their own. Regarding our relationship to ourselves, writers such as Fromm, Fanon, Freire and Anna Freud, use different terms but all describe the same psychological process which is the direct result of the experience of being dominated. One way of coping with feeling powerless and dominated is to identify with the internalizing aspects of the the dominator in order to feel and restore one's sense of effectiveness. This results in an internal split or duality within the self. This is what Anna Freud termed 'identification with the aggressor', Fromm 'internal duality', Fanon 'adhesion' to the dominator, and Freire 'housing' the other. In this way, people maintain an illusion that they are not helpless and do have some power in their lives.

Earlier on in this chapter we saw how the self is formed in the sociocultural relations of the social structure. According to writers such as Fannon and Fromm, a situation of domination maintains the self in a position of identification with or 'adhesion' to a reality which seems all powerful and overwhelming. Part of the oppressed self is then located in the reality to which it 'adheres'. In this way the structure of thought of the dominated group has been conditioned by the situation which has imposed its shape on them so that the self of the dominated is both dominator and dominated. The attitudes, beliefs, values, and actions of the dominating group are internalized and thus felt as part of the self. The self is then split— shaped by and existing in a contradictory experience with the resulting ambiguity or duality. This adhesion—
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...or partial adhesion— of people to the dominating group makes it difficult for them to locate it outside themselves. It is because of this ambiguity, according to Althusser (1971), that many professional people who have been 'determined from above' by a culture of domination become intermediaries or managers carrying out the directives of those who are in power. Because they have been conditioned by a culture of achievement and personal success, to recognize their own situation as objectively unfavourable would seem to hinder their own possibilities of success. However, because these patterns of domination are instilled within them they are insecure and anxious in their professional role. According to Friere (1996), they then tend to rationalize this anxiety with a series of evasions and rationalizations rather than any critical analysis or constructive action. From this perspective, many Welsh-speaking managers in the psychotherapy services in Wales may be seen in such dual roles, performing the role of intermediaries in carrying out the directives of a system which disregards the cultural context within which they work.

From the work on culture and identity, inter-related types of cultural constructs and themes emerge. These themes, which are the consequences of domination, operate at an individual, interpersonal, and group or national level.

FATALISM AND DOCILITY

Erich Fromm points out that when superficially analysed, this fatalism is sometimes interpreted as a trait of national character such as docility or passivity. However, he points out, fatalism in the guise of docility is the result of a historical and sociological situation, not an essential characteristic of a people's behaviour.

PASSIVITY

Freire, Fanon and Fromm describe how a consequence of domination is that people will feel downtrodden, fatalistically accept and react in a passive and alienated manner. Commenting on this legacy in Ireland, Kenny points out that the Irish have been left with components of despair, dependency, self-abnegation, withdrawal, shame, guilt, loss of pride, loss of confidence, and sense of worthlessness. These same themes are found in historical accounts of our legacy in Wales which document passivity, servility, lack of awareness, faint heartedness, and lack of pride. John Davies...
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(1993) points out that commentators such as Michael Daniel Jones saw this resulting from English control of the land, industries, and commerce and the dominance of the English language over the courts and schools. Saunders Lewis (1962) points to our lack of national awareness, our deficiency of national pride. He considered that the purpose of politics was the defence of civilization. He wrote that civilization 'is more than an abstraction. It must have a local habitation and a name. Here its name is Wales.' (cited in John Davies ,1990: 591). He viewed civilization as being threatened when people were without property and responsibility.

DEPENDENCY

This is the result of a process where people at a certain point in their existential experience are dependent on others.
The dominated group, having internalized the image and adopted the guidelines of the dominating group, becomes adapted to and resigned to the structure of domination. The result of passivity and the giving up of responsibility is dependency and helplessness as people lack confidence in themselves. Seligman's (1975) notion of learned helplessness is pertinent here. When we find that none of our coping mechanisms make any difference to our dilemma, we don't do anything or give up, i.e., become depressed.

FEAR OF RISK TAKING

Due to the conditioned fear of going against external and internalized power structures, people fear risks and experimentation with reality, and prefer security. A hidden premise here which is usually not made explicit is that it is better to be a subject of domination than risk any other course of action.

LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY OR INITIATIVE

This is a consequence of fatalism and a reaction to an impossible external environment where people no longer see it possible to act constructively and change the situation. All responsibility is pushed on to the dominating group or authority figure. This leads to feelings of self-doubt, helplessness and hopelessness. Any action which may be construed as trying to change the situation will be viewed as unwarranted confrontation.

FEAR AND MISTRUST

Domination results in what Fromm terms a 'dominated consciousness full of doubts, fears and mistrust' (1966: 147). This is seen in...
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... their ambiguity to their own people as they mistrust the oppressor 'housed' in them. Continually frustrated and fearful of directly confronting the source of their frustration, Fanon describes how people can give vent to their anger and attack the dominator indirectly by forms of 'horizontal violence', against their own people often for the pettiest reasons.

SENSE OF INFERIORITY AND LACK OF CONFIDENCE

Because they have been continually told that they are inferior, that the 'other' knows things and is able to run things, eventually people become convinced of their own unfitness. They have a diffuse belief in the other group's invulnerability and power. This results in insecurity and a lack of confidence. John Davies documents that historically, Welsh speakers were imbued with self- contempt and describes how Saunders Lewis viewed the chief aim of movements towards self government in Wales was 'to take away from the Welsh with their sense of inferiority.' Self-depreciation derives from the internalization of the opinion that the dominators hold of them.

Interpersonal Styles of Communication

Considering interpersonal cultural constructs or styles of communication resulting from domination, Kenny outlines four types of constructs which are an elaboration of Bateson's cultural analysis of the submission-dominance constellation.

SUPERFICIAL COMPLIANCE

One way to cope with a dominant authority is to appear at least superficially compliant. An aspect of this is group conformity. By focusing attention on what one must be seen to be doing, there is a gulf created between such activities and one's inner personal reality.

INDIRECT COMMUNICATION

This technique had a strong survival value in the face of oppression where it was important to learn to be evasive and develop a mental dexterity. This may be re-labelled by the dominating group in such terms as deceit and dishonesty. Another example is the difficulty in being self-assertive even when there is a justifiable complaint. Rather, people will complain to one another about somebody else and not like the idea of facing the person directly. This also applies to relationships with friends and ...
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... to relationships with friends and to positive events. For example, it may be difficult in directly communicating positive feelings so that things tend to be understated if stated at all. Indirect communication also involves covert retaliation/aggression such as gossiping and backbiting.

AVOIDANCE OF SELF-REVELATION

This is when people feel unable to communicate aspects of themselves directly to others. Kenny points out that this is an elaboration of the submission construct and a reflection of the taboo against exhibitionism, especially against exhibiting superiority or too high a self-regard. The effect of this strategy is to block self-expression through self-censorship. This also means that inner feelings remain unexpressed and, therefore, unacknowledged in relationships.

ELABORATION OF THE INNER WORLD 

The fourth construct is a corollary of the first three constructs which are about communication with the external world. This construct involves a creative application of spectatorship to inner processes. Here we find an elaboration of fantasy, magical thinking, poetry, music, etc. We have seen how in Wales, the language, and thus identity, became constricted and associated with the world of literature, poetry, and spiritual life. According to Kenny, this may also be a strategy for self-reassurance — the creation of a personal 'reality' which could not be touched, got at or invalidated. However, the more the focus is on inner reality, the more the external reality comes to be regarded as something about which not much can be done and for which you do not feel responsible for. 

Below is a summary of some of the dimensions found within this type of cultural heredity. They are characteristic features of the pattern of relationship between Wales and England outlined earlier in this chapter. This is an adaption and elaboration of the work of Kelly, Kenny, and Bateson to include the concept of duality or reciprocal roles. These are some of the constructs which we can abstract from the above analysis of Welsh identity in the context of this type of cultural legacy. These are not exhaustive by any means. They represent in summary form some of the basic cultural channels through which we tend to process our psychological and cultural phenomena. Such cultural options become enshrined so that they...

Table 8.1 Bipolar constructs
Spectator Actor
Object Subject
Accept Impose
Obey Prescribe/Lead
Submissive Dominating 
Failure/Defeated Successful 
Inferiority Superiority 
Dependent Independent 
Helpless Powerful 
Passive Active 
Superficial compliance Involvement
Conforming Innovative 
Evasive Direct 
Ashamed Proud 
Self-depreciating Self-affirming 
Low self-esteem High self-esteem 
Self-doubt Self-confidence 
Worthless Worthy 
Useless Useful 
Silent Speaking out 

...are seen almost as 'facts'.

The fifth item is an obvious corollary of the last three, which pointed to a block in communication between the self and the outer world. This level, which bridges the socio-psychological levels, is a focus on the inner world of the self. With this step we are getting closer to the deep structures of the Irish personality. Here we find an elaboration of fantasy, magical thinking, poetry, music, etc. We have seen how in Wales, the language, and thus identity, became constricted and associated with the world of literature, poetry, and spiritual life. According to Kenny, this may also be a strategy for self-reassurance — the creation of a personal 'reality' which could not be touched, got at or invalidated. However, the more the focus is on inner reality, the more the external reality comes to be regarded as something about which not much can be done and for which you do not feel responsible for.

Below is a summary of some of the dimensions found within this type of cultural heredity. They are characteristic features of the pattern of relationship between Wales and England outlined earlier in this chapter. This is an adaption and elaboration of the work of Kelly, Kenny, and Bateson to include the concept of duality or reciprocal roles.

These are some of the constructs which we can abstract from the above analysis of Welsh identity in the context of this type of cultural legacy. These are not exhaustive by any means. They represent in summary form some of the basic cultural channels through which we tend to process our psychological and cultural phenomena. Such cultural options become enshrined so that they ...
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... are seen almost as 'facts'. Kenny describes how although it has been 60 years since Ireland finally became independent of England, there has been very little change in these types of bipolar choices. When people criticize the Welsh or Irish it is generally the negative pole of some of these constructs that are picked out and re-labelled. For example, passive can be viewed as 'lacking initiative' or 'lazy' and 'evasive' may be re-labelled as 'deceitful'. These constructs are formed in our relationship to others. We also internalize the views that powerful 'others' hold of us becoming, as Fromm and Friere describe, as dual beings. These views are then adopted as part of our selves. 
Given below is an example of such a reciprocal role patterns. These constructs and reciprocal roles become functionally autonomous, as if they have a life of their own, and people find it very hard to shake out of these moulds. This is the nature of the cultural gap between monolingual English psychotherapists and bilingual Welsh speakers in Wales. The words we use not only describe the world we live in but also dictate what we can see and how we see the world.

Table 8.2  Reciprocal role patterns

Relationship to others Relationship to self 
OTHER    SELF SELF 
Dominating Oppressed Self-depressing
Contemptuous Despised Self-contempt 
Controlling Controlled Passivity/Helplessness 
Powerful Defeated/Weak Self-defeating/Hopelessness 
Autonomous Crushed Depressed 

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See also:
Welsh psyche: implications for psychological services, International Review of Psychiatry Vol. 11, Iss. 2-3, 1999. 
http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1080%2F09540269974384


http://www.assembly.wales/en/bus-home/bus-third-assembly/bus-legislation-third-assembly/bus-leg-legislative-competence-orders/bus-legislation-lco-2009-no10/nafw_lc5-wl_consutlation/nafw_lc5_wllco_individual-reponses/Pages/nafw_lc5_wllco-60i-.aspx

 
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