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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

Introduction to Contemporary Britain

What does it mean?
What does it mean?

Modern Britain is a diverse, exciting, vibrant and highly complex society. Typical images of Britain often tend to focus on traditional aspects depicting top hats, tea and the Queen. This course aims to challenge such images by introducing you to the Britain lived by the majority of its people on a day-to-day basis.

To do this, the course will pose the question:

‘What does it mean to be British?’


We will use the City of Southampton and surrounding areas to make a practical exploration of key topics related to Britishness. By considering ideas of belonging and identity, you will discuss and experience a range of British attitudes and practices related to subjects such as: the nations and nationalisms of Britain; (multi)cultural diversity; language and citizenship, social inclusion, and the British class system.

Excursions will include a trip to the SeaCity Museum where, for example, you will go back in time to experience the sights and sounds of Southampton in the year the Titanic left the port of Southampton and hear stories of the survivors.

This course aims not only to create an overarching framework for the other topics in your overall programme, but also through its practical hands-on activities, you will immerse yourself in the life and culture of the City of Southampton.


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