Address: 031 James Callaghan Building, Department of Political and Cultural Studies, Swansea University
City: Swansea, Wales - SA2 8PP
Country: United Kingdom
I have joined Swansea University as a Lecturer in Comparative Politics in 2017 from the University of Exeter where she held a position of a Lecturer in Quantitative Social Sciences. I was awarded a PhD in Politics by the University of Nottingham in 2015, as well as a Candidate in World History degree from Tomsk State University (Russia). My research interests include political participation and representation of ethnic and religious minorities and women in Britain. In particular, I explore how identity-based predictors (i.e. religion, ethnicity, gender) shape parliamentary behaviours and public behaviours and attitudes using quantitative and mixed methods methodologies. Most recently, I have been focusing on how religion affects Euroscepticism in Britain and the intergenerational analysis of religion and social capital in the UK, as well as a comparative study of hero figures in the UK and the USA.
Religion & Politics
Race, Ethnicity and Politics
Representation and Electoral Systems
Political Parties and Interest Groups
Research Methods & Research Design
Religion & Politics
Religion And Euroscepticism
Substantive Political Representation
Symbolic Political Representation
Ethnicity And Politics
My research interests include political participation and representation of under-represented groups such as women, ethnic and religious minorities in Western democracies, especially in Britain. The influence of religion and ethnicity of political behaviour and attitudes, including Euroscepticism, civic engagement and voting. I predominantly use quantitative and mixed methods to analyse survey and text data, though I have been involved in research using experiments. At the moment, I also work on research into the effects of religious affiliation on Eurosceptic attitudes and on social capital in Britain with the WISERD team at Cardiff University. At the same time I am exploring the lanscape of heroes an dhero choice in Britain and the USA with Dr Nataliya Danilova (Aberdeen). Finally, I have been collaborating with the colleagues form Exeter (part of the ESRC-funded 'Media in Context' project) on a research focusing on electoral mandates, and how the perceived magnitude of an electoral victory shape expectations of government performance.
Elections are the main instrument through which voters can exercise influence over public policy. However, the relationship between electoral outcomes and government policy performance is under-researched. In particular, little is known about the effect that the perceived narrowness of electoral victories has on expectations about incumbents’ policy behaviour. Drawing on the literature on electoral mandates and framing theory, we examine how the way in which election results are portrayed by the media affects citizens’ confidence that winners will enact their policy programmes, using the 2015 UK election as a case study. Based on a survey experiment conducted after the race, we find that victories depicted as narrow increased scepticism about the incoming government’s ability to deliver on its promises, contradicting normative theories of electoral competition. Instead, and consistent with mandate interpretations, subjects – especially less political knowledgeable ones – became more likely to trust in the government’s ability to fulfil its campaign pledges when the Conservative victory was presented as decisive. Besides shedding light on the link between the framing of election results and expectations about government performance, our results have potentially relevant implications for understanding how such expectations may affect actual policy-making and the enforcement of accountability.
This article examines how religious affiliation shapes support for European Union membership. While previous research has shown that Protestants are typically more Eurosceptic than Catholics, little is known about the nature of this relationship: specifically, whether religion affects one's utilitarian assessments of the costs and benefits of membership, or one's affective attachment to the EU. Using the 2016 British Election Study Referendum Panel, this article shows that religious affiliation influences both sets of attitudes, suggesting that the values and shared history associated with one's religion shapes how a voter perceives the performance of the EU in delivering its policy objectives, and its operation as a legitimate institution. Moreover, some findings from previous research are challenged: Protestants are not as unified in their scepticism of the EU as is widely assumed, and the positive relationship between Catholicism and support for EU integration is not apparent in the UK.
In modern day Britain, the discourse of national heroification is routinely utilised by politicians, educationalists and cultural industry professionals, whilst also being a popular concept to describe deserving ‘do-gooders’ who contribute to British society in a myriad of ways. We argue that although this heroification discourse is enacted as a discursive device of encouraging politically and morally desirable behaviour, it is dissociated from the largely under-explored facets of contemporary popular heroism. To compensate for this gap, this paper explores public preferences for heroes using survey data representative of British adults. This analysis demonstrates a conceptual stretching in the understanding of heroism, and allows identifying age- and gender-linked dynamics which effect public choices of heroes. In particular, we demonstrate that age above all determines the preference for having a hero, but does not explain preferences for specific hero-types. The focus on gender illustrates that the landscape of popular heroism reproduces a male-dominated bias which exists in the wider political and cultural heroification discourse. Simultaneously, our study shows that if national heroification discourse in Britain remains male-centric, the landscape of popular heroism is characterised by a gendered trend towards privatisation of heroes being particularly prominent amongst women. In the conclusion, this paper argues for a conceptual revision and re-gendering of the national heroification discourse as a step towards both empirically grounded, and age- and gender-sensitive politics of heroes and heroines.
The substantive representation of minority groups in national legislatures is a topic of significant normative, theoretical and empirical importance. Addressing this question, this article focuses on what drives Members of the UK House of Commons to raise issues on concern for Jewish and Muslim minority groups in relatively low-cost parliamentary activity, i.e. Parliamentary Questions for written answers (WPQs). Drawing on the suggested positive relationship between descriptive and substantive minority representation (e.g. Hansard (2009), Speaker's Conference (on Parliamentary Representation): Final Report, London, The Stationery Office Limited), it uses content and statistical analysis to examine if having a Jewish or Muslim background impacts on the frequency and the probability of MPs’ engagement with minority issues, and how this effect compares to that from institutional predictors, namely the party parliamentary status and the minority presence in a constituency. The findings demonstrate that a religious minority background has a limited impact on MPs’ engagement with minority issues in WPQs, being inferior to that of institutional predictors. Being in Opposition, in particular, has a consistent, positive influence on the content of WPQs, whereby Opposition MPs table more WPQs on the issues of minority concern than Members from the party of Government.
The article addresses one facet of the representation puzzle, namely substantive minority representation in the UK House of Commons. It examines whether a religious Jewish and Muslim minority background stimulates politicians from these backgrounds to address issues of concern for Jewish and Muslim minority groups in Early Day Motions (EDMs), and compares the effects from identity-based and institutional predictors. The study draws upon previous studies that used low-cost parliamentary activities to assess the impact of gender and ethnic minority identities on the representation of women and ethnic minorities, employing quantitative content analysis and time-series cross-sectional data analysis to examine the content of EDMs sponsored by members of parliament from Jewish and Muslim background (plus a control group) between 1997 and 2012. The analyses test for the effects of religious background and institutional predictors on the likelihood of referring to minority issues. They show that identity-based predictors such as a religious background are vastly inferior to institutional factors, including a legislative role, representing a constituency with a significant proportion of minority population, and the length of parliamentary service, in determining such references.
The chapter discusses the performance of Members of Parliament with a Muslim background in the UK House of Commons in 1997-2012.