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White Flight and White Nationalism in the UK Is there a Connection? Eric Kaufmann and Gareth Harris, Birkbeck College

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Presentation on theme: "White Flight and White Nationalism in the UK Is there a Connection? Eric Kaufmann and Gareth Harris, Birkbeck College"— Presentation transcript:

1 White Flight and White Nationalism in the UK Is there a Connection? Eric Kaufmann and Gareth Harris, Birkbeck College;

2 Community and Closure 'The distinctiveness of cultures and groups depends upon closure and, without it, cannot be conceived as a stable feature of human life. If this distinctiveness is a value, as most people…seem to believe, then closure must be permitted somewhere.' – Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice (1983)

3 Exit, Voice, Accommodation Voice = White opposition to immigration and/or Far Right voting (Closure 1) Exit = ‘White Flight’ or Avoidance (Closure 2) Accommodation = White acceptance of diversity, immigration, How are exit, voice, accommodation related?

4 Conceptual Frameworks Dominant Ethnicity Political Demography Ethnic Status

5 Data and Methods Methods: Quantitative and Qualitative Quantitative First, then qual, then back to quant Today mainly on quantitative findings to date Sources: ESRC datasets: BHPS, Understanding Society, Citizenship Survey. Also ONS LS

6 ONS Longitudinal Study The permission of the Office for National Statistics to use the Longitudinal Study is gratefully acknowledged, as is the help provided by staff of the Centre for Longitudinal Study Information & User Support (CeLSIUS). CeLSIUS is supported by the ESRC Census of Population Programme (Award Ref: RES-348-25-0004). The authors alone are responsible for the interpretation of the data. Census output is Crown copyright and is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

7 Exit


9 USA, 1970-2000 Source: data from Card, Mas & Rothstein 2008 Source: Andersson, Hammarstedt, Neuman 2012

10 ‘White Flight’ in England? A number of leading geographers (Catney and Simpson 2010; Finney and Simpson 2007; Simon 2009) suggest that both whites and minorities leave dense, poor areas for leafier more attractive places But even they do not deny that ethnic preference plays some role Flight v Avoidance

11 Counterurbanisation Method Wards % White Quintile 1755498 Quintile 272687 Quintile 328873 Quintile 418057 Quintile 510234 Total885091 Simpson (2007) argues that both whites and nonwhites are leaving poor urban areas at similar rates. ‘Counterurbanisation’ thesis. Yet even here, there is evidence of some ethnic difference.

12 Moved Out of Ward in 2000-2001: Wards% WhiteWh BritishMinoritiesWH OtherWhite Irish Quintile 17554981.1%4.7%3.2%1.5% Quintile 2726875.4%6.4%7.7%4.1% Quintile 3288736.8%6.0%8.1%5.6% Quintile 4180577.0%4.6%7.8%3.8% Quintile 5102346.1%2.9%13.1%3.2% Total885091 Source: Office for National Statistics. 2001. ONS Longitudinal Study.

13 Mobility theory explains Why but not Where Most people move because younger, married, wealthier, better educated Move to leafier, better areas White British are only somewhat more likely than minorities to leave an area that is under 50% white (t= 3.38) But White British move to much whiter areas than minorities (‘white avoidance’ rather than white flight)

14 Predictors of Quintile Shift, 1991-2001 (excluding area controls for ethnicity, density, poverty) Source: Office for National Statistics. 2001. ONS Longitudinal Study.

15 Voice: Opposition to immigration Citizenship survey 2006 to 2011 Do you think the number of immigrants coming to Britain nowadays should be reduced Majority view, about 80% since 2005 among white UK-born population

16 Bringing White Flight and Immigration Views Together Puzzle: Why are whites (and even white working-class British) people living in diverse wards more tolerant of immigration?

17 Reduce the number of immigrants by social class and ward diversity for all white respondents

18 Threat or Contact? Whites – even the white working class – living in diverse wards are more tolerant of immigration US literature shows that diversity at ward/tract level (10-30k) is associated with less white hostility to immigrants, minorities, immigration BUT at metro/county/LA level (100k-1m), more diversity is associated with more white hostility Feeling of threat at metro level as minorities grow, but positive contact at local level creates accommodation?

19 Other Explanations.. Contact or Threat is the usual framework But other explanations: 1) Selection bias: whites who don’t like diversity leave 2) not diversity of context, but something about the white population in diverse areas that creates a different context. Young, educated, transient. Here we focus on transience.

20 Selection Bias? No one has properly tested Test with BHPS/Understanding Society Compare those who enter and leave diverse wards Compare movers (enter/leave) with those who stay

21 SameLessMoreTotal White stayer1193161596146812238090.7% White inter-ward mover67741670142198657.3% White intra-ward mover2565383726402.0% Source: BHPS/ Understanding Society, 1991-2011

22 Not Selection: Those who ‘exit’ do not ‘voice’ BHPS and Understanding Society Whites moving to diverse areas and those leaving them are identical when it comes to voting, family values, English national identity, British patriotism, newspaper readership No measure of immigration opinion, but research in Sweden identical conclusion

23 Source: BHPS/ Understanding Society, 1991- 2011

24 Mobility?: Stayers Differ From Movers Swedish research shows that whites leaving diverse areas (Hedman et. al 2012) are somewhat less likely to be hostile to immigrants than whites who remain Our work with BHPS corroborates this: movers are more tolerant on family values and morality, whilst stayers tend to be more nationalistic and defensive of Britain’s standing in the world.

25 Stayers and far right support Harris’ work on support for the far right in Greater London 2007-10: electoral support for the BNP stronger in wards with less in- and – outflow Far right support linked with white enclaves nested within more ethnically diverse areas (Goodwin 2011, Bowyer 2008) Positive relationship at Local Authority (threat) against negative at ward level (contact)

26 Two caveats Far Right support not linked to ethnic diversity per se but rate of ethnic change on a low base, ie Barking & Dagenham (see also Newman 2013 for US anti-immigration sentiment) Higher levels of far right support found in areas with a higher proportion of Pakistani and Bangladeshi residents, rather than Black Caribbeans, who are more established

27 Reduce the number of immigrants by social class and ward diversity for all white respondents

28 % Minorities Softens Views on Immigration Source: Home Office Citizenship Surveys, 2006-11

29 …Adding Mobility & Contextuals

30 Focusing on Working Class

31 Counterargument to Contact Theory? May be that those who are mobile (i.e. leaving or entering a diverse area) are more individualistic Transience=diversity; transience=tolerant whites, ergo diversity=tolerant whites? (ie contact with minorities not the reason for tolerance) We await release of 2011 mobility data

32 Conclusion Local ethnic geography and demography matter for national issue perceptions and vice-versa Little white flight, but lots of white avoidance Anti-immigration and far right vote (closure 1) not linked to white flight/avoidance (closure 2) But white working class are more likely to be both ‘white flighters’ and white nationalists Some support for contact theory but much of the positive effect of diversity is due to other aspects of diverse areas (transient, urban). No effect on white working class White attitudes to immigration may be softened by contact; or may be hardened by white consolidation and by jumps in minority presence in formerly lily-white areas

33 Future Research Focus Group Work required to tease out meanings that white working class people hold 4 focus groups, 2 in white minority areas, 2 in adjacent mainly white areas. 2 in London, 2 in North or Midlands 2011 data updates (ONS LS, Census)

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