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Nouvelles valeurs dans l’Angleterre d’aujourd’hui

Monica Charlot

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01) ABSTRACT. Conflicts over values in the English Countryside

1The countryside has long provided a source of inspiration for the English. Its influence pervades the whole English culture and is felt in many different areas such as painting, literature or town planning. For the citizens of the first industrial nation, the countryside represents the last remnant of a long-lost golden age, a kind of Arcadia that many want to see protected. This love for the countryside explains why it was the object of much debate and many conflicts during most of the 20th century. The salience of the countryside as a social issue has increased over the last 20 years because of various factors such as the massive influx of newcomers from cities, the crisis that hit the agricultural world in the 1990s, the need to accommodate millions of new households by 2015 and the coming to power of a Labour government. This article considers the future of the English countryside in a fast-changing world by looking at several conflicts that all centre around it.


2Current environmental debate focuses on rural issues, both to criticize agricultural practices deemed too destructive of the environment, and to protect what is left of natural features against the invasion of tourists. This article argues that in parallel with, and as part of this debate, a reassessment of the status and functions of nature in urban England is taking place, very often linked with objectives of urban regeneration The analysis of recent developments exemplifies new priorities for nature and wider definitions of conservation and open spaces. Thus, the place of cities is shown to be more positively asserted in the attempt to create a more sustainable environment for urban dwellers.

03) Abstract. The emergence of new values among British patients

3Better informed than in the past, British patients are increasingly likely to question medical practices and to make formal complaints against the NHS. This article investigates to what extent the phenomenon is new and what are its causes. Our analysis shows that the growing discontent of British patients is linked in part to a new form of individualism, encouraged by the health care policies of the Conservative and Labour governments since the 1980s, to better public information on health and to frequent media stories on medical errors.

4Complaints, however, are linked to the negative health care experience of many patients, as exemplified by long waiting lists for operations. Despite a number of policies set up by New Labour since 1997 to improve the quality and transparency of the service, British patients have not yet turned into «consumers», if only because of their continuing lack of health care choice.

04) Reaching a compromise of values: a new political language in the context of the English AIDS policy in the 1980s

5The first Aids education campaigns did not occur before 1986. But the first cases of Aids were diagnosed in 1981 in the United States. Which means that for half a decade a variety of actors voiced their concerns without any check from the government. Thus the traditional institutions such as medical professionals, institutions of law and order, education and also the Churches were left debating, with great dissension between them. By 1986 the debate had focused, in particular in the press, on innocent “victims” and guilty “carriers”, in very strong moral terms.

6The response of the Conservative government to both this moral debate and the HIV infection broke with the Conservative and especially the Moral lobby rhetoric. It initiated a relatively liberal policy on AIDS education, reaching a compromise of values, which was not however for the main part followed by the media.


7This article looks at the evolution of the portrayal of women in food commercials on ITV with 1983, 1990, and 2000 as landmarks. It shows that the appearance of women including hairstyles, clothes, colours, and styles of clothing has turned out to be less and less stereotyped and feminine. They have become multifaceted in a post-modem English society which favours heterogeneity and fragmentation. The analysis demonstrates that for women, youthfulness and leisure have become synonymous with happiness. It also reveals that although success is no longer solely achieved in the home and the family, it has not forcibly reached the professional sphere and has come to be associated with self-interest, beauty, love, and even sex. Over seventeen years, women have grown into autonomous beings who are more open to the outside world – which has remained a man’s world with deeply rooted traditional values.

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2003

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