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Title: Information, involvement and identity : a social psychological investigation into British attitudes towards the euro
Author: Roberts, Caroline Elizabeth
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the debate surrounding Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the question of whether Britain should join dominated the political agenda. Public opinion was characterised by widespread opposition to closer integration with Europe. This thesis investigates the social psychological processes underlying the dynamics of public attitudes towards the euro during this period. It focuses on three factors, shown in previous research to be particularly useful in explaining variation in support for EMU: the nature of information about the issue circulated by the media, variation in public involvement in the issue and the strength of people's attachment to British national identity. The empirical studies undertaken draw on a number of theoretical approaches but two in particular play a central part in the thesis: the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) of persuasion (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986) and Self-Categorisation Theory (Turner, 1987). Together, they provide a social psychological framework for understanding the role of information, involvement and identity in attitude formation and change. Four empirical studies were undertaken. The first two focus on the media. Study A looks at how much press coverage of the single currency issue the public was exposed to over the course of the debate. Study B looks at the content of this coverage, particularly in relation to forms of persuasive argument employed by press outlets of differing political outlooks. The next two studies focus on the role of involvement and identity in persuasion. Study C is an analysis of data from a public opinion field experiment - a Deliberative Poll - and study D reports an experiment especially designed to test the postulates of the ELM in relation to public attitudes towards the euro. The final chapter contains a summary of the thesis, some conclusions and a discussion of some of the emerging issues.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available