What drives support for social distancing? Pandemic politics, securitization, and crisis management in Britain

Karyotis, G. , Connolly, J., Collignon, S., Judge, A. , Makropoulos, I., Rüdig, W. and Skleparis, D. (2021) What drives support for social distancing? Pandemic politics, securitization, and crisis management in Britain. European Political Science Review, 13(4), pp. 467-487. (doi: 10.1017/S1755773921000205)

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Support for social distancing measures was, globally, high at the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic but increasingly came under pressure. Focusing on the UK, this article provides a rigorous exploration of the drivers of public support for social distancing at their formative stage, via mixed methods. Synthesizing insights from crisis management and securitization theory, thematic analysis is employed to map the main frames promoted by the government and other actors on the nature/severity, blame/responsibility, and appropriate response to the pandemic, which ‘follows the science’. The impact of these on public attitudes is examined via a series of regression analyses, drawing on a representative survey of the UK population (n = 2100). Findings challenge the prevailing understanding that support for measures is driven by personal health considerations, socio-economic circumstances, and political influences. Instead, crisis framing dynamics, which the government is well-positioned to dominate, have the greatest impact on driving public attitudes.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:COVID-19, crisis management, public attitudes, political behaviour, securitization.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Judge, Dr Andrew and Karyotis, Professor Georgios and Skleparis, Dr Dimitris
Authors: Karyotis, G., Connolly, J., Collignon, S., Judge, A., Makropoulos, I., Rüdig, W., and Skleparis, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:European Political Science Review
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1755-7747
Published Online:21 July 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in European Political Science Review 13(4): 467-487
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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