Presentation Outline III. Citizens, Society, and the State • Political socialization • Cleavages/Party affiliations • Civil society/Interest Groups • Public Opinion/Voter turnout
Political Socialization How would you define political socialization, and how does this differ from political culture? Main agents of political socialization in the UK are: • Family • Media • Schools • Church/Mosque
Family • In studies of children’s political socialization in the United Kingdom Motimore and Tyrrell (2004), found that the main influences on children’s political values were parents and the media. • According to British geographers Pattie and Johnston (2000), “people who talk together tend to vote together.” Source: Pattie & Johnston (2000), People Who Talk Together Vote Together: An Exploration of Contextual Effects in Great Britain, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 90, No.1, p. 58
Media Includes newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and films, internet, etc. We are dependent on the media for what we know and how we relate to the world of politics because of the media-politics connection. We read or watch political debates followed by instant analysis and commentary by “experts.” Often, we read and listen uncritically and are shaped by opinions in the media.
Major British newspapers on the political spectrum Left Centre Right http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/ http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/ http://www.independent.co.uk/
Schools • The British education system promotes democratic and civic values through courses on civics and social studies • The state public schools promote multiculturalism • The prestigious and elite “public” schools such as Eton promote service and noblesse oblige and reinforce class divisions
III. b) Cleavages • Historically, class has been the most important political and social cleavage in the UK • Religion is NOT a major cleavage in contemporary Britain, though it has been a source of conflict in Northern Ireland • Ethnic cleavages do exist, and there has been conflict at times, though they do NOT represent major divisions throughout the UK: -Scottish /Welsh separatism -tensions between Whites and new immigrants
Party Affiliation and Class • Generally class and Party affiliation coincide
Religious/Nationalist Conflict in N. Ireland Most Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland identify themselves as Irish, while most Protestants identify themselves as British. For much of the twentieth century Northern Ireland had experienced regular acts of violence between Protestants and Catholics. The violence between the warring factions culminated in the 1972 Bloody Sunday massacre and the IRA bombings of 1972, referred to as Bloody Friday.
Main Belligerents in Northern Ireland: Irish Catholic:Irish Republican Army (IRA), paramilitary group which sought reunification with Ireland Protestant Ulster Unionists : pro-British paramilitary group which sought to remain loyal to the U.K. British Army: enforced UK government policy of retaining control over N. Ireland and crushing Irish Catholic separatism For furthering reading about this conflict see: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/
Scottish and Welsh nationalism • A rise in Scottish and Welsh nationalism led to the creation of the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly after the 1997 referenda • Does this mean that Wales and Scotland want independence?
The vast majority of Welsh and Scottish identify with their nation rather than the UK state! Source: Rose, Michael & Bond, Ross (2008) National Identities and Politics after Devolution, Radical Statistics, Issue 97, pp. 47-65 www. dataarchive.ac.uk
Support for outright Scottish independence appears to be declining Interestingly, there is quite a bit of support for Scottish independence from non-Scotts • 32% of English and 34% of UK residents favor Scottish independence • How might this add to the cleavage?
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Scotts are NOT satisfied with the status quo.66% want change!
The Welsh are nationalists but according to a recent poll less than 10% of Welsh favor outright independence!
Non-white Britons: has integration worked? • Roughly 10% of UK citizens are of non-European origin • Many are from former colonies (India, Pakistan, and various African states) • All U.K. citizens are equal under the law • UK citizenship is determined based on place of birth and NOT blood
The vast majority of Muslims identify with their religion rather than with their state (U.K.)
Both riots occurred in high crime, poor areas populated mostly by non-White immigrants Same causes: High unemployment and a feeling of discrimination towards non-White British
III. c) Civil Society & Interest Groups How would you define civil society? What is the difference between interest articulation and interest aggregation? • British corporatism, 1945-1979 • British interest groups since 1979
British corporatism • Advantages of corporatism: • More efficient policymaking process • Government mediates between the interests of Big Business and Labour in an effort to seek compromise • Limits radical policies • Focused on status-quo and continuity • Criticisms of corporatism: • Limits the representative process, only two “peak” interest groups participate can directly influence government policy • Undemocratic: countless other interest groups have little or no voice in influencing British politics The UK Government IRON TRIANGLE influences influences Aggregates interests into policy British Confederation of Industry (CBI) Trades Union Congress (TUC)
British Interest Groups since 1979 • Former Prime Minister Thatcher’s reforms dismantled the corporatist system • Although the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) continue to exert a considerable influence on government policy, they must now compete with other interest groups in a pluralist system.
Pluralism The UK Government Aggregates pluralist interests into policy
III. d) Public Opinion/Voter turnout • Voter turnout has steadily declined over the last few decades and is lower than other democracies Do the Brits take their democracy for granted?
Support for the EU is weak • The Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government has promised a referendum on the UK’s status in the EU • The referendum will likely take place within the next couple of years
Support for the British Monarchy and traditions is still strong. Source: http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/04/verdict-of-the-british-people-long-to-reign-over-us/