This paper begins by arguing that it is important to understand the values of the electorate in order to make sense of recent political developments. It argues that as attachment to party has declined, values are heuristics which are used by the electorate to make sense of politics and make political decision. The paper looks at the social roots of value divides and introduces the idea of ‘value space’ which shows how different sets of values combine in complex ways, but ways which have real consequences for political behaviour. Finally, the paper considers the influence of value positions during and after the EU Referendum in the UK and argues that only by understanding where voters are situated in value space can we make sense of the choices people make at the ballot box.
This event is part of the Sociology Seminar Series.