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Exploring the Goodhart Thesis at the Local Scale: Neighbourhood Social Heterogeneity and Perceptions of Quality of Life in the British Crime Survey

Researchers

Liz Twigg

Liz Twigg
University of Portsmouth

Email:liz.twigg@port.ac.uk

web:profile on UNiversity of Portsmouth website

Joanna Taylor

Joanna Taylor
University of Portsmouth

Email:joanna.taylor@port.ac.uk

web:

John Mohan

John Mohan
University of Southampton

Email:J.F.Mohan@soton.ac.uk

web:

Abstract:

The question of socioeconomic heterogeneity in the UK has received a great deal of academic, political and media attention in recent years. In a provocative argument the political commentator David Goodhart has suggested that the UK is now "too diverse" - in other words, that socioeconomic heterogeneity is associated with adverse social consequences, such as a decline in trust. More recently Robert Putnam has argued that, in ethnically heterogeneous neighbourhoods, trust, altruism and cooperation are all lower than in more homogeneous places.

To date there are few studies which explore this question for small geographical areas and almost none for the UK.  Many studies have been devoted to measuring socioeconomic segregation along various dimensions (age, housing tenure, ethnicity, employment status) and there have been disputes both about the extent of segregation and processes underlying it.  However there are relatively fewer analyses of the consequences of segregation for people's attitudes and perceptions of quality of life.  For example, are those living in heterogeneous neighbourhoods more or less likely to perceive lower or higher levels of anti-social behaviour?  Are they more or less fearful of using public space (e.g. going out after dark)?

We will explore this terrain by exploiting the rich resources available in the British Crime Survey, an annual study of 40,000 individuals, which as well as seeking information about people's experiences of crime also poses a number of questions about their quality of life.  The survey asks, for example, about what people feel about their neighbourhood as a place to live, whether they feel safe going out alone at night, and whether they perceive antisocial behaviour in various guises as a problem. We will add value to the BCS because we will be able to link to it a range of statistics from the 2001 Census for small geographical areas.  We can use this data to calculate measures of socioeconomic heterogeneity, focusing specifically on the question of ethnic heterogeneity.  We will then analyse what characteristics of individuals and places are associated with perceptions of quality of life and specifically we will investigate whether there is evidence that neighbourhood homogeneity or heterogeneity has an effect on people's perceived quality of life.

Department:

Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth & School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton

Duration:

October 2007- October 2009

Grant Type:

Small Research Grant

Publications

View research findings [PDF]

Taylor, J., Twigg, L. and Mohan, J. (2010) Investigating perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

Twigg, L., Taylor, J. and Mohan, J. (2010) Diversity or disadvantage? Using the British Crime Survey to explore the impact of ethnic diversity and multiple deprivation on dimensions of collective efficacy across the small areas of England, Environment and Planning A, Forthcoming.

Taylor, J., Twigg, L. and Mohan, J. (2010) Exploring the links between population heterogeneity and perceptions of social cohesion in England, Chapter 13 in Stillwell, and van Ham, M. (eds.) Ethnicity and Integration Understanding Population Trends and Processes - Volume 3, Springer, Dordrecht.

Presentations

Twigg, L., Taylor, J. and Mohan, J. (2010) Presentation at Research Methods Festival, St Catherine’s College, Oxford, 6 July.

Mohan, J., Taylor, J. and Twigg, L. (2010) Presentation at Southampton University Seminar, 10 February.

Mohan, J., Taylor, J. and Twigg, L. (2009) Investigating perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at Home Office Research Seminar, London, 12 October.

Twigg, L., Mohan, J. and Taylor, J. (2009) Diversity or disadvantage? Exploring the impact of ethnic diversity and multiple deprivation on dimensions of collective efficacy across small areas of England, Presentation at RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Manchester, 26 August.

Twigg, L., Taylor, J. and Mohan, J. (2009) Investigating perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at British Society of Criminology Annual Conference, University of Cardiff, 29 June.

Mohan, J., Twigg, L. and Taylor, J. (2009) Investigating the Goodhart thesis at the local scale: Neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity and perceptions of the local area in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at UPTAP Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 25 March.

Twigg, L., Taylor, J. and Mohan, J. (2009) Investigating the Goodhart thesis at the local scale: Perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at Geography Departmental Seminar, University of Portsmouth, 15 January.

Mohan, J., Taylor, J. and Twigg, L. (2008) Investigating the Goodhart thesis at the local scale: Perceptions of antisocial behaviour and neighbourhood ethnic heterogeneity in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at the Crime Surveys User Group Royal Statistical Society, London, 9 December.

Mohan, J., Twigg, L. and Taylor, J. (2008) Exploring the Goodhart thesis at the local scale: Neighbourhood social heterogeneity and perceptions of quality of life in the British Crime Survey, Presentation at the UPTAP Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 19 March.