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Title: Hotbeds of unrest and extremism : how social context influences political participation in the 21st century : Britain, from rioting to far right party membership
Author: Kawalerowicz, Juta
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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British politics at the start of the 21st century provide a good setting for examining factors associated with mobilisation for extremist politics. This thesis is concerned with the relationship between individuals' preferences, their local setting and political behaviour. With focus on two outcomes - participation in urban rioting and support for a far right party - this thesis is divided into two parts and consists of five research papers addressing different aspects of mobilisation. In the first part we focus on urban disorder and examine police arrest records from the London riot of 2011. Much of the sociological literature has focused on variation in rioting across cities; here we examine variation within London by mapping the residential addresses of 1,620 rioters onto over 25,000 neighbourhoods. Our findings challenge the orthodoxy that rioting is not explained by deprivation or by disorganisation. Furthermore, we present evidence suggesting the importance of political grievances, in particular relations with the police, and examine the process of mobilisation to show that it was aided by spatial proximity and social similarity. In the second part we look at factors associated with engagement with far right politics. We use individual attitudinal data from the British Election Study to examine whether concerns over immigration are associated with the actual experience of immigration in one's place of residence. The results suggest that local setting does play some role, although individual factors seem to be more important. Secondly, we use leaked British National Party membership list to map 12,536 far right supporters onto over 200,000 neighbourhoods in Britain. Our findings underline the importance of a larger geographic context, where some spatial configurations present particularly fertile grounds for the far right; we also report the relative unimportance of cultural threat and significance of the social distance. Lastly, we question the recently advocated 'legacy effect' and suggest that white flight mechanism may possibly be an alternative way of thinking about organisational continuity.
Supervisor: Biggs, Michael Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Sociology ; London Riots 2011 ; British politics ; British National Party ; political extremism ; far right