Generation Brexit Study Guide: Social Class and Brexit

This study guide  survey's the role of social class  in politics using Brexit as a case study. It is relevant for students taking  AS /A  LEVEL POLITICS, SOCIOLOGY AND MEDIA STUDIES.

What social class can tell us about Brexit

LSE Podcast: What can Brexit tell us about the white working class?

BBC Video UK Now Has 7 Classes

LSE Podcast: Social Class in the 21st Century

Slides: Social Class in the 21st Century

BBC Podcast The Great British Class Survey

Dorling, Stuart & Stubbs

Goodwin & Heath

Gidron & Hall Blog

Antonucci, Horvath and Krouwel





Social Class & Brexit

Learning Outcomes

In this study guide, you will learn more about the significance of SOCIAL CLASS  in contemporary Britain through  a CASE STUDY OF BREXIT.

  • What is social class?
  • How is social class  apparent in contemporary Britain?
  • To what extent was the decision to leave the European Union in the 2016 Brexit Referendum a result of class divisions?
  • To what extent can the Brexit result be explained by other factors?

The activities are intended to help you  deepen your understanding of these issues. They will also support the development of those critical thinking skills that you will be expected to demonstrate in your A / AS Level Exams, and at university. 

If you are a STUDENT you will find these  activities useful as part of your self guided study or exam preparation. 

If you are a TEACHER you may wish to incorporate these activities into your lesson plans either  as individual OR small group activities. 


'Social Class' & Brexit Slideshow

Activity One

Activity ONE

In this activity, you are asked to think about what defines social class in contemporary Britain. You should be prepared to cite evidence from the resources in support of your views

First, you should watch the short BBC Video 'Britain how has 7 classes'.  You may also like to take the Great British Class Survey yourself to learn more about this new way of thinking about class in Britain. If you are a teacher, these tasks could be done in class, with further research (see below) assigned for home learning. 

If  you want to explore these issues in greater depth, then you could also listen to the BBC Podcast 'The Great British Class Survey' OR watch the LSE PODCAST ‘Social Class in the 21st century.’ If you don’t have time to watch the whole  LSE PODCAST, or you want a summary of the key points, then you can take a look at the ‘Social Class in the 21st Century Slideshow’.

What sort of criteria does the GBCS use to determine class? If you took the GBCS test, how well do you think the result reflects your personal experience and identity?

Is social class in Britain today mostly defined by wealth, education, or values or something else entirely?

Is the gap between the top and bottom social classes becoming bigger or smaller, more important or less important?


Activity Two

Activity Two

In this activity you are asked to examine the controversy about the extent to which voter preferences in the Brexit referendum were the result of social class divisions.

 First, you should EXPLORE THE RESOURCES under the heading ‘What social class can tell us about Brexit’. These resources include  an LSE Podcast 'What Brexit can tell us about the white working class', and you might want to begin by listening to this discussion.  What evidence is there in the various blogs etc. to suggest that support for LEAVE and REMAIN was mostly determined by social class? 

 Second, you should EXPLORE THE RESOURCES under the heading ‘There is more to Brexit than social class’. These resources include a podcast with Robert Goodhart that explains the Brexit divide in terms of different world views and several LSE blogs. What evidence is there to suggest that support for LEAVE and REMAIN was determined by factors other than social class?

You don’t have to explore all the resources under each heading. But you should be familiar with at least TWO from each point of view. You may also find it helpful to refer back to the slideshow on 'Social Class and Brexit', which summarises many of the key points in this debate.

You should then try to identify reasons FOR and AGAINST the following proposition: Brexit was a victory of the working class over the elite.

You should aim to identify a series of POINT / EXAMPLE / EXPLANATION style arguments. After you have completed these notes, take some time to consider your own point of view. Which arguments do you find most convincing, and on what basis? Be prepared to fully explain your position citing relevant evidence.

If you are using this study guide as part of your independent learning or revision, you may want to conclude this activity by writing a practice exam style essay on this question.

If you are a teacher using this study guide as part of a lesson plan, then you may wish to use this question as the basis for a class debate.


Activity Three

Activity Three

This activity invites you to engage in a debate with other young people on the Generation Brexit platform.

Go to the GENERATION BREXIT platform and find out what other young people are SAYING about the kind of future relationship they want with Europe after Brexit.

Based on this discussion, which factor(s) do you think best explain the attitudes of young people towards Brexit – wealth, education, values or something else (such as national or regional identity)?   Are young people divided by social class?  Or is the category of social class less relevant in this context (perhaps because their common age is a more significant predictor of their attitude to Brexit)?

Do you have an IDEA to share?

Generation Brexit has one purpose: it gives young people across the UK and the EU a voice in the Brexit negotiations. By taking part in this policy making project you can shape the future of UK-EU relations post-Brexit. The best ideas will be turned into policy proposals sent to the UK and EU parliaments. 

Generation Brexit is also offering an exciting opportunity for Sixth Form students to intern with an LSE crowdsourcing project as a PLATFORM FACILITATOR responsible for encouraging constructive engagement with Brexit related issues amongst platform users.

 Each PLATFORM FACILITATOR will be expected to spend half an hour on the platform each week for a period of four weeks, and earn 100 participation points on the platform. These participation points can be earned by voting or commenting on other people’s ideas, responding to surveys or posting your own ideas. PLATFORM FACILITATORS who fulfil these requirements will receive a certificate  from the LSE to highlight their contribution to the project.

 This is a great opportunity to participate in the Brexit debate and gain valuable experience that you can include in your UCAS personal statement. For more information contact

There is more to Brexit than social class

Podcast 'How somewheres and anywheres explain Brexit'

Kaufmann Blog



Garry Blog


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