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Broken Britain? Measuring social attitudes in contemporary society

Craig Gelling

5th October 2022

The release of the 39th British Social Attitudes Survey highlights regional divisions in social attitudes to the public crises of the 21st century.

In a recent episode of the Sociology Staffroom podcast, I discussed how teachers and students could get up to date research into social issues that impact on some of the more niche topics in sociology, including work, poverty and welfare, health, culture and identity and social stratification. One of the sources I mentioned was the National Centre for Social Research which produces the British Social Attitudes Surveys at regular intervals that examine social attitudes towards a wide range of social issues. Their most recent publication (their 39th) has just been released and contains some insights into how Britons are divided on the challenges facing contemporary Britain, including the NHS, culture wars and the environment.

The BSA 39's findings include how social attitudes have become more liberal towards equality and diversity in society as a whole, but that divisions remain, based upon geographical location and how individuals voted in the EU referendum in 2016. The report also highlights declining satisafaction with the NHS, despite individuals believing in the principles of the NHS providing healthcare for all. The environment and in particular, climate change has also increased in prominence for many, with 45% of the population in 2021 seeing climate change as being the most important environmental issue compared to just 19% in 2010.

The BSA39 is available to download from this link. You can also access previous editions, with recent versions examining social attitudes to issues surrounding Brexit, COVID and greater inclusion in society.

Craig Gelling

Craig is an experienced Sociology teacher and examiner and is known as The Sociology Guy on social media. Craig helps design and deliver tutor2u Sociology CPD courses and student exam workshops.

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