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Belonging, believing, behaving, and Brexit: Channels of religiosity and religious identity in support for leaving the European Union*

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Abstract

Having an Anglican affiliation is known to be associated with support for leaving the European Union (EU) in Britain. Religiosity, conceived as strength of religious attachment, has received comparatively little treatment. We investigate religiosity via electoral, household, and attitudinal surveys, distinguishing the effects of “behaving” and “believing.” The association between religiosity and EU Referendum vote choice and position is identified before and after inclusion of values, attitudinal, and civic engagement measures. Consistent with established findings, in socio-structural models Anglicans are more likely to support Brexit than religious Nones. More frequent church attendance is associated with being more pro-Remain. The Anglican effect is primarily mediated by anti-immigrant attitudes, authoritarianism, and salience of ethnic identity, suggesting a Christian nationalist aspect to Leave support. The attendance effect is mediated by warmer attitudes toward immigrants, and social capital. Notably, those exhibiting stronger orthodox belief tend to feature a stronger attachment to “Leave,” with this partly mediated by authoritarianism. To evaluate the net effect of religion on civic life, we should pay more attention to the cultural content of religious beliefs, and how they structure other values and attitudes.

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APA

McAndrew, S. (2020). Belonging, believing, behaving, and Brexit: Channels of religiosity and religious identity in support for leaving the European Union*. British Journal of Sociology, 71(5), 867–897. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12793

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