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Intergenerational transmission and support for EU membership in the United Kingdom: the case of Brexit

Fox, Stuart ORCID:, Hampton, Jennifer May ORCID:, Muddiman, Esther ORCID: and Taylor, Chris ORCID: 2019. Intergenerational transmission and support for EU membership in the United Kingdom: the case of Brexit. European Sociological Review 35 (3) , pp. 380-393. 10.1093/esr/jcz005

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Euroscepticism is increasingly important to the shaping and understanding of contemporary European public opinion and politics. The origins of the trait, however, particularly the values that predispose individuals to view the EU as a legitimate (or otherwise) political institution, remain poorly understood. Literature on political socialisation identifies the family as a vital influence on the development of many social and political attitudes. This study explores the role of the family in the development of Euroscepticism by examining evidence of intergenerational transmission of hostility towards membership of the EU between parents and children in the UK during its ‘Brexit referendum’. The study shows that the attitudes of parents during one’s politically formative years can be an important factor in shaping support for EU membership. It also finds that this intergenerational transmission is different for mothers and fathers: while there is a greater likelihood of a child’s attitudes being affected by those of their father, if they are affected by their mother’s views they are more likely to eventually share their mother’s position on EU membership. This identifies the family as a key source of the values that shape support for European integration, potentially accelerating or opposing other social trends that have resulted in successive generations typically being more supportive of EU membership.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0266-7215
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 22 March 2019
Date of Acceptance: 29 January 2019
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 01:37

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