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|Survey on immigration attitudes, voting and 'white flight'
|This is a late July 2013 YouGov political tracker survey combining data on attitudes to race and immigration with questions on mobility history as well as voting intention, media consumption and other background variables. Data is also geocoded to ward level and ward-level census variables appended. The quantitative research will be based on ONS longitudinal survey and census data, as well the large-scale Citizenship Surveys and Understanding Society surveys. We will identify individual respondents from the quantitative research and explore their responses through qualitative work, in the form of three focus groups - two in Greater London, one in Birmingham. These will probe connections between respondents' local and national identities, their intentions to move neighbourhood, and their opinions on immigration, interethnic relations, community cohesion and voting behaviour.<p>In the past decade in Britain, the 'white working-class' has been the focus of unprecedented media and policy attention. While class is a longstanding discursive category, the prefix 'white' is an important rider. We live in an era of global migration. Population pressure from the global South, and demand for workers in the developed North, will power what some term a 'third demographic transition' involving significant declines in the white majority populations of the western world (Coleman 2010). In the UK, the upsurge in diversity arguably presents a greater challenge for the working-class part of the white British population than for the middle class. Why? First, because for lower-status members of dominant groups, their ethnic identity tends to be their most prestigious social identity (Yiftachel 1999). Second, minorities tend to be from disadvantaged backgrounds and are therefore more likely to compete for housing and jobs with the white working class. Finally, because the white working-class is less comfortable navigating the contours of the new global knowledge economy than the middle class, it is more attached to existential securities rooted in the local and national context (Skey 2011). How might the white working class respond to increasing diversity? Drawing upon Albert O. Hirschman's classic book Exit, Voice and Loyalty (1970), we posit three possible responses: 'exit', 'voice' and 'accommodation.' The first possibility is white 'exit': geographic segregation, or, in the extreme, 'white flight'. A second avenue is 'voice': spearheading an identity politics based on opposition to immigration and voting for white nationalist parties. A third possibility is accommodation, in which members of the white working-class become more comfortable with elevated levels of ethnic diversity in their neighbourhood and nation. From exploratory research and existing literature, we suggest that a three-stage pattern of voice, exit and accommodation may be a useful way of thinking about white working-class responses to diversity in the UK. In other words, initial diversity meets strong white working-class resistance, expressed in attitudes and voting. This is followed by a degree of white out-migration, and then by a decline in anti-immigration sentiment and far right voting. Yet these broad patterns require finer-grained analysis that takes both individual characteristics and local context into account. This project will test these propositions through quantitative and qualitative research. There are three major dimensions of white working class attitudes and behaviour we seek to explain. Namely, whether members of the white working-class: 1) are more likely than other groups to leave or avoid areas with large or growing minority populations; 2) oppose immigration more strongly if they reside in diverse or ethnically changing wards and local authorities; and 3) support far right parties more if they reside in diverse or ethnically changing wards and local authorities. A central question we seek to answer is whether inter-ethnic contact reduces white working-class antagonism toward minorities (the contact hypothesis), or whether increased diversity leads to white flight, leaving relatively tolerant whites remaining in diverse neighbourhoods. The latter, 'hydraulic' process mimics the contact hypothesis but does not signify increased accommodation. </p>
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