The purpose of this research is to compare the mediating effects of cultural and institutional mechanisms on the relationship between English citizens conception of their identity and a leave vote in the Brexit referendum of 2016. Political trust at both the EU and the domestic level, represent the institutional mechanisms, and ethnocentrism the cultural mechanism. A typology based on the distinction between an exclusive vs. inclusive conception of identity is operationalized as the independent variable, based on how strongly people identify as English and/or British. A logistic regression analysis performed on survey data collected after the referendum took place is performed to test this relationship (N = 7384). The findings show that both institutional and cultural mechanism mediate the direct relationship and that the institutional mechanism of political trust at the EU level has the strongest (although still partial) mediating effect. Another notable finding is that strong English identification itself rather than an exclusive conception of identity per se, greatly increased the likelihood of a leave vote. The implications of this last finding are discussed in line with potential avenues for further research.

, , , ,
Gijs Custers, Godfried Engbersen
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Ramsay, A. (2020, June 21). Exclusive vs. Inclusive Identities and Brexit - Testing Cultural and Institutional Theoretical Approaches on Determinants of a Leave Vote in England. Sociology. Retrieved from