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What do ‘Left Behind Communities’ Want? A Qualitative Study in the United Kingdom using Photo Elicitation

Wood, M., Antova, I., Flear, M. & Hervey, T. ORCID: 0000-0002-8310-9022 (2022). What do ‘Left Behind Communities’ Want? A Qualitative Study in the United Kingdom using Photo Elicitation. American Political Science Review,


Recent shifts in political support to populist parties worldwide have been linked to the changing preferences of ‘left-behind communities’. On the basis of apparently growing ‘left behind’ support for populists, some commentators have argued for policy changes including tightened immigration rules, coupled with increasing investment in economically deprived areas, particularly in healthcare. However, ‘left behind’ communities’ policy preferences are unclear from existing research, due to a series of methodological challenges associated with researching polarization and stigmatization. We complement existing research with an innovative photo elicitation methodology covering five field sites in the UK during 2019, focusing on left behind communities’ policy preferences concerning ‘Brexit’. Photo elicitation overcomes methodological challenges associated with emotional attachment and stigmatization. Drawing on interviews with 489 participants, we find that interviewees rejected elite framings suggesting a logical link between Brexit and healthcare investment, instead articulating policy preferences for healthcare investment drawing on personal experiences.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is to be published in a revised form in American Political Science Review This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © the authors, 2022.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > Institute for the Study of European Laws
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