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The Influence of Structural and Perceived Privilege on Political Participation in the United Kingdom

Greenwood, Joe (2017) The Influence of Structural and Perceived Privilege on Political Participation in the United Kingdom. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

2018-01-11 Full Final Thesis with Appendices and Bibliography JG.pdf

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This thesis addresses the question of how structural and perceived privilege impact on political participation in the United Kingdom. In doing so it adopts the causal propositions of the Civic Voluntarism Model as its starting point and adds Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of economic, social, and cultural capital, which are argued to encompass structural privilege. Perception of privilege is posited to be constituted by self-perceived status, explanations for that status, and explanations for status differences in society. Subsequent politically relevant components are perceptions of the difference and privilege of politically active people. Thus, the thesis proposes a model running from background characteristics through capital profiles to perception of privilege and thence political engagement and participation. An original survey covering these areas was designed and fielded online to a representative sample of 1,480 British adults. The resultant data is analysed using structural equation modelling, which allows for the simultaneous estimation of underlying tendencies and the structural relationship between them. The results of that model generally support the causal hypotheses of the research, as well as providing evidence of the impact of the three forms of capital and perception of privilege. In particular, a strong positive effect of legitimate cultural capital is observed and found to be more important in influencing political participation than the previously observed effects of social and economic capital. In addition, perception of privilege is found to promote participation and to channel people towards individualised political activities, especially where they subscribe to the fundamental attribution error. These effects are as hypothesised and confirm the role of both structural and perceived privilege in influencing political participation in the United Kingdom.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Politics; participation; privilege; perception; structure; capital; economic; social; cultural.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Joe Greenwood
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 14:24
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2018 14:24

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