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Socialization and generational political trajectories: an age, period and cohort analysis of political participation in Britain

Socialization and generational political trajectories: an age, period and cohort analysis of political participation in Britain
Socialization and generational political trajectories: an age, period and cohort analysis of political participation in Britain

The role of political socialization in explaining disengagement from specific modes of activism beyond voting remains largely unexplored, limited to date by available data and methods. While most previous studies have tended to propose explanations for disengagement linked to specific repertoires of political action, we propose a unified theory based on the different socialization experiences of subsequent generations. We test this theory using a new dataset of collated waves of the British Social Attitudes Survey and by applying age–period–cohort models for repeated cross-sectional data and generalized additive models to identify generational effects. We show that generational effects underlie the participatory decline across repertoires. Consistent with our expectations, the results reveal that the generation of “Thatcher’s Children” are much less likely to engage in a range of repertoires of political action than “Wilson/Callaghan’s Children”, who came of age in the more politicized 1960s and 1970s. Significantly, and in line with our theoretical expectations, the “Blair’s Babies” generation is the least politically engaged of all. We reflect on these findings and highlight the concerning implications of falling levels of activism for advanced democracies.

1745-7289
1-23
Grasso, Maria Teresa
60f8342f-73d8-41cb-bc72-a1d2bfb54fa0
Farrall, Stephen
c0bf4481-60fd-46f3-bc13-114bf4e58dd3
Gray, Emily
04ff194d-9985-4638-b702-751948aa5f25
Hay, Colin
1dc2c1eb-c9bc-4f6a-ad7a-aa0038689217
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7
Grasso, Maria Teresa
60f8342f-73d8-41cb-bc72-a1d2bfb54fa0
Farrall, Stephen
c0bf4481-60fd-46f3-bc13-114bf4e58dd3
Gray, Emily
04ff194d-9985-4638-b702-751948aa5f25
Hay, Colin
1dc2c1eb-c9bc-4f6a-ad7a-aa0038689217
Jennings, Will
2ab3f11c-eb7f-44c6-9ef2-3180c1a954f7

Grasso, Maria Teresa, Farrall, Stephen, Gray, Emily, Hay, Colin and Jennings, Will (2018) Socialization and generational political trajectories: an age, period and cohort analysis of political participation in Britain. Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties, 1-23. (doi:10.1080/17457289.2018.1476359).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The role of political socialization in explaining disengagement from specific modes of activism beyond voting remains largely unexplored, limited to date by available data and methods. While most previous studies have tended to propose explanations for disengagement linked to specific repertoires of political action, we propose a unified theory based on the different socialization experiences of subsequent generations. We test this theory using a new dataset of collated waves of the British Social Attitudes Survey and by applying age–period–cohort models for repeated cross-sectional data and generalized additive models to identify generational effects. We show that generational effects underlie the participatory decline across repertoires. Consistent with our expectations, the results reveal that the generation of “Thatcher’s Children” are much less likely to engage in a range of repertoires of political action than “Wilson/Callaghan’s Children”, who came of age in the more politicized 1960s and 1970s. Significantly, and in line with our theoretical expectations, the “Blair’s Babies” generation is the least politically engaged of all. We reflect on these findings and highlight the concerning implications of falling levels of activism for advanced democracies.

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Accepted/In Press date: 25 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 June 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420120
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420120
ISSN: 1745-7289
PURE UUID: 228d9fc3-317f-48f4-924a-c66b089fab9e
ORCID for Will Jennings: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9007-8896

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Date deposited: 27 Apr 2018 16:30
Last modified: 10 Dec 2019 01:37

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