The Political Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Britain

ISBN : 9780199656639

Anthony F. Heath; Stephen D. Fisher; Gemma Rosenblatt; David Sanders; Maria Sobolewska
256 Pages
171 x 240 mm
Pub date
Aug 2013
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Britain has become increasingly diverse over the last fifty years and she has been fortunate to attract relatively highly educated immigrants with democratic values and positive perceptions of the British political system. But Britain's ethnic minorities have suffered prejudice, harassment and discrimination, while politicians increasingly argue that they have failed to integrate adequately into British society and accuse them of leading separate lives. In this book we set out to explore the extent and nature of the political rather than the economic integration of Britain's growing ethnic minority population. We consider what ethnic minorities in Britain think about and how they engage in British politics. This includes political knowledge and interest, political values and policy preferences, perceptions of parties, preferences for parties, what parties offer ethnic minorities, electoral registration, turnout and vote choice, other forms of political participation (such as signing petitions and demonstrations) and trust in political institutions and satisfaction with the democratic system. The book considers the ways in which ethnic minorities resemble or differ from the white British population, and differences between different minority groups. The analysis is based on the largest and broadest academic survey ever of the political attitudes and behaviour of Britain's main ethnic minority groups, the 2010 Ethnic Minority British Election Study, in conjunction with the nationally representative British Election Study and other surveys. The findings are based on complex statistical regression models but they are presented and interpreted for more general readers. To what extent does discrimination at work and social exclusion alienate ethnic minorities from the political process? Are those minorities who associate more with those from their own ethnic group less engaged politically? Are those who were born in Britain better integrated than immigrants? This study addresses these and related questions. Despite there being many reasons for minorities to disassociate themselves from British politics they engage in positive and constructive ways. But there are important differences between the nature of white British and ethnic minority political engagement and between different minority groups, and especially between immigrants and their descendants. As a result politicians and political parties should not take the political support of ethnic minorities for granted.


1. Exclusion or Integration?
2. Diversity and Integration of British Ethnic Minorities
3. Political Orientations: Home or Away?
4. The Ethnic Minority Agenda(s)
5. Political representation of ethnic minority concerns
6. Partisanship
7. Eligibility, Registration and Turnout
8. Voting, Abstention, and Defection
9. Varieties of Political Action: Activists and Dissidents
10. Satisfaction or Disaffection from British Democracy?
The Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES)
Coding the variables

About the author: 

Anthony Heath is a Professor of Sociology and the author of many books and articles on ethnicity, education, social stratification, and political sociology. He was the principle investigator of the British Election Studies between 1983 and 1997. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. ; Stephen Fisher is University Lecturer in Political Sociology and Fellow and Tutor in Politics at Trinity College, University of Oxford. He is the author of various articles on electoral behaviour and social attitudes. ; Gemma Rosenblatt has led research studies for the Electoral Commission on areas that include the completeness and accuracy of electoral registers, electoral data, and referendum question testing. Prior to working at the Commission, Ms Rosenblatt worked at the Hansard Society, researching parliamentary procedures, communications, public attitudes, and the work of MPs. ; David Sanders is a Professor of Government and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Essex. He is the author of many books and articles on political behaviour and social attitudes. He was co-editor of the British Journal of Political Science between 1990 and 2008 and a co-investigator of the British Election Studies between 2001 and 2010. He is a Fellow of the British Academy. ; Maria Sobolewska is a Lecturer in Politics (Quantitative Methods) at the University of Manchester and the author of various articles on political attitudes, behaviour, integration, and representation of ethnic minorities in Britain, and on public opinion towards British Muslims.

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