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The relationship between political and ethnic identity among UK ethnic minority and majority populations

Nandi, Alita and Platt, Lucinda ORCID: 0000-0002-8251-6400 (2018) The relationship between political and ethnic identity among UK ethnic minority and majority populations. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. ISSN 1369-183X

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Identification Number: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1539286


The rise across Europe of political parties espousing an ethnic conception of the nation, explicitly opposed to immigrants and minorities, has brought into stark relief the politics of identity. Exploiting multiple identity questions in a large, nationally representative UK survey, this paper investigates the drivers of ethnic and political identity and the extent to which they are similar. It does so for both the ethnic majority and ethnic minorities. Locating our analysis within social identity theory, we consider the role of observed characteristics, including party affiliation, the experience of harassment, and political context in shaping ethnic and political identities. We also show that there are unobserved factors jointly implicated in individuals’ political and ethnic identities, which we interpret as providing suggestive evidence of more general political mobilisation of ethnicity. Although individual characteristics have largely expected associations with identity, we find that the local share of UKIP/BNP voters heightens ethnic but not political identity among both majority and minority populations. By contrast, harassment and discrimination shapes minorities’ political but not ethnic identity. Contrary to expectations, both political and ethnic identities are stronger among second generation compared to immigrant minorities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Authors
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2018 16:48
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2024 04:48
Projects: ES/L009153/1, ES/K005146/1
Funders: Economic & Social Research Council, Understanding Society

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