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Socio-Economic Features of British Culture

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Table of contents

  1. The People Social System
  2. Belief System
  3. The Norm

United Kingdom consists of the whole Great Britain Island includes four countries – England, Wales and Scotland as well as northern portion of Ireland. The population of the UK is around 62.8 million. The official language spoken is English. The capital of Britain which is London, well known for its great financial, cultural and others. This state’s biggest export is English language that is spoken widely in every corner of the world. The unique culture of Britain includes literature, film, music and television.

The UK is the fifth world’s largest economy. UK’s great economy contributes to high quality of life, proving that their people’s work culture is among the best, considering that with diverse culture they still manage to maintain their work integrity. In addition, the unemployment rate is 4.2% at the end of July 2018, which can be considered very low compared to other developed countries. In London and the south east, the economic growth is more focused. Meanwhile, unemployment rate is higher in the north of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although the cost of living in the UK is high, but it is a safe country to live. The British people is often referred as the Brits.

The People Social System

According to Merriam-Webster, social system is the patterned series of interrelationships between individuals, groups and institutions forming a coherent whole which builds the social structure. The social structure of the United Kingdom has been highly influenced by the concept of social class since long time ago. According to The Telegraph website, there are 7 social classes in the UK. It sorted the British citizens into seven distinct social groups, ranging from the precariat to the elite. Since the traditional 3 social classes is considered as out of date, Professor Mike Savage came up with a new way in order to sort the Brits into social groups.

The group that is on the top of the list is the elite, which is the wealthy people. They are the privileged group as they earn prosperous amount of salaries. Their high amount of economic capitals sets them apart from everyone else. They went to elite school and universities for education.

Next is the established middle class. They are the second wealthiest group among all the social groups. There are about 25% of them among British people. The occupation includes electrical engineers, social workers, occupational therapists, environmental professionals and town planning officials.

The technical middle class is a new class category. This category is quite small which is only 6% compared to other categories. They have high economic capital but are less culturally engaged. The majority of this group are young and live in the urban areas. Most of them works in science and technology.

New affluent workers which consists of 15%, have higher level of cultural and social capital. They are young and active group. They are at the moderate level of economic capital. Their occupations include electricians, postal workers, retail cashiers, plumbers and technicians.

Traditional working class consists of 14% of the British society. They have low economic capital but they have assets such as house and social contacts. Their average age is older than other groups. Their typical occupation includes care workers, cleaners and lorry drivers.

The next class is the emergent service workers. This newly established class consists of 19% of the society and are not financially secure, but however they have high levels of social capital and culture. This group consist of young people and can be found in urban areas. Occupations of this social group including bar staff, chefs, customer service occupations and musicians.

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Last but not least is the precariat which consists 15% of the society. This group has the lowest levels of economic capital, social capital and culture. Their occupation includes carpenter, caretakers, travel service and shopkeepers.

Belief System

In the United Kingdom, the people lives in a diverse faith society. Most of the schools, hospitals, airports and other public places that provide a prayer room that anyone is allowed to use for religious needs. Its multiculturalism history has even brought them to establish law regarding religious discrimination, which shows that any kind of religion is opened to be practiced in the UK.

Christianity is the official religion in the UK. Therefore, it is easy to find churches at most of the places throughout the country. The main other religion practiced is Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism and Buddhism.

It is easier find a place of practising other faiths and the community of the religions in larger cities. In such places, you may find mosque, gurdwara, temple and synagogue. If there is a big community of a faith practiser in some place, then it would be easier to find additional things that are related to their religion. For instance, if a place consists of large Muslim population, it will be easier to find halal food in that area.

The Norm

The British people are very punctual. Being late will be considered as rude for most of them. They really are strict about being on time. If their work is at 10am, they must be there by 10am. It is important for them to ensure their late arrivals to be avoided.

Other than that, it is normal to see British people to queue everywhere – at the supermarkets, train stations, bank. Unlike in some other places where jumping the lines is acceptable, they are really disciplined when it comes to queuing, whoever violates the queue will receive negative looks from those who patiently waits in their line. If it requires you to do so, you may ask politely then state your reason why and they will happily let you to move ahead the line.

On the other hand, the British people is well known for their good manners. Foreigners are often surprised by how polite is their language and how they act. “Thank you” and “please” are widely used in their conversations. It is in their culture too for over apologising. They would simply say sorry even if it is for small matters such as asking a question or for accidentally bumping into others. Being polite at work will help for someone to be respected from other colleague.

The other etiquette that is famous among the Brits is to greet people they meet. The most common way to greet new people they meet is by shaking hands and say “Pleased to meet you”. Meanwhile, they usually hug and kiss on the cheeks among family, close friends and relatives. Verbal greetings like “hello” and “hi” are commonly used to greet people.

The British people are widely known for their drinking tea culture. Tea is a large part of daily life in the UK. Tea is not only a drink for them, it is also an essential element of the country. According to history, The East India Company was the first to brought tea the UK in early 17th century. It was sold at expensive price that most people could not afford to enjoy them back then. But, the price of tea eventually fell, making it available to everyone. Now, having this beverage while having conversation is one of the way for the Brits to socialize. They even have tea breaks at work place.

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Socio-Economic Features of British Culture. (2022, October 28). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Socio-Economic Features of British Culture.” Edubirdie, 28 Oct. 2022,
Socio-Economic Features of British Culture. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Sept. 2023].
Socio-Economic Features of British Culture [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Oct 28 [cited 2023 Sept 22]. Available from:
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