The British Society and the Class System: Short Notes

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Working class Pages: 1 (261 words) Published: January 16, 2013
When talking about UK's culture and Britishness, we surely can't help mentioning the British class system. In fact, this phenomenon has largely influenced the framework of the British society throughout the centuries. But what is the class system and how is it structured? According to sociologists, social classes can be defined as the grouping of people by occupation, so we have: the lower, the middle and the upper classes.

More precisely, the former includes low-income families whose members have low-wage, manual and unskilled jobs (often factory workers, farmers, miners etc.), while the latter, on the contrary, consists of wealthy families who have often inherited their assets from their noble ancestors. The middle class instead is the majority of the British population and it includes white-collar workers (hotel clerks, shop assistants, stewardess etc.), highly-skilled workers (managers, IT specialists, teachers etc.) and, sometimes, these people could have inherited possessions and have ancestry directly related to the upper classes.

However, being part of a class or another implies also remarkable cultural differences since in the UK, especially in the past, members of a particular class had different leisure activities, were given different education and it was very unlikely that they could socialize and get married with members of the higher classes. For example, people from middle and upper classes are taught Received Pronunciation, usually attend public schools and have tertiary education (university level). As regards hobbies, instead, cricket, golf, hunting and shooting are known for being very popular among the upper class members.

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