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Being young in Brexit Britain

Young people’s attitudes towards and aspirations after the Brexit referendum

UCL-funded project

Research team

Dr Avril Keating (Principal Investigator)
Dr Laila Kadiwal (Research Associate)

About the project

This project examines young people’s attitudes towards Brexit and explores their hopes, fears, and aspirations for the future of Britain (and for their own future in Britain).  In the process, the study focuses not just on young Remainers, but also sheds much needed light on the attitudes, aspirations and identities of young people that supported Britain leaving the EU.

Background

Preliminary analysis of the EU referendum results indicated that young people under 30 were more likely to vote Remain, and we know that young people are more likely to report having a post-national identity that incorporates a European dimension.

We expect that this age group are more likely to be affected by many of the negative consequences that have been predicted (such as higher unemployment, and greater restrictions on mobility for study and work, to name but two). 

Aims

In light of this, we want to examine young Briton’s attitudes towards the results and its aftermath, their expectations and aspirations for the future, and whether their identities are starting to shift away from the post-national position that we have come to expect of the younger generation.#

In the process, this project also aims to shed light on the attitudes, aspirations and identities of the young people that supported Britain leaving the EU.

Although this is a minority position, this view is one that is held by a substantial minority of young people (c. 30% by some estimates). This group are not only typically characterised as being 'left behind' by globalisation but they also tend to be overlooked by debates which instead focus on the position that most young people have taken (i.e. to support Remain).

Even though these young Leavers are often less likely to vote, understanding their motivations and aspirations is important if we are to understand the wider socio-political context in which their civic and political identities are emerging, and the potential consequences of this for social and political attitudes and behaviours.

Methodology

We are looking at these questions from a qualitative perspective, using a combination of focus groups and in-depth interviews.
The young participants are between the ages of 15 and 29, and at a range of different stages in young adulthood (studying at FE college or university; on the cusp of graduation; experiencing their first full-time employment; or struggling to find work).