The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded Eric Kaufmann, Gareth Harris and Demos a £200,000 grant under its Secondary Data Analysis small grants programme to study responses to diversity among the white working-class in Britain. This project advances the hypothesis that ethnic change in England and Wales is associated with white working-class ‘exit,’ ‘voice’, or ‘accommodation’. ‘Voice’ is manifested as a rise in ethnic nationalist voting and anti-immigration sentiment and ‘exit’ as outmigration from, or avoidance of, diverse locales. Once areas reach a threshold of minority population share, however, these initial responses may give way to ‘accommodation’ in the form of decreased ethno-nationalist voting, reduced anti-immigration sentiment and lower white outmigration. In the course of our investigation, we ask the policy-relevant question: do residential integration and minority acculturation calm or fuel white working-class exit and voice? In other words, does contact improve ethnic relations or do ‘good fences make good neighbours’? This research adds to existing scholarship by integrating individual data with a more complex array of contextual variables, blending quantitative methods with focus-group qualitative research.
Quantitative datasets used will include the ONS LS 2001 and 2011 (largely to map ‘white flight’ or integration), Understanding Society (mainly focusing on BNP and UKIP vote, but also social cohesion) and the Citizenship Surveys 2007-11 (to examine attitudes to immigration, as well as social cohesion). This will be augmented with aggregate analysis of 2001 and 2011 ONS census data. Four focus groups, run with our partner, Demos, will concentrate on white working-class residents in diverse areas.