Prof Maria Sobolewska

Professor of Political Science

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Research interests

I am interested in public opinion, elections, political representation and participation and issues of measurement.

I specialise in the issues of ethnicity, religion and race relations. Most of my research is on ethnic and religious minorities in Britain, but I do some comparative work.

I use mostly quantitative data analysis methods in my work, but I do have some projects using qualitative approaches.

My current projects include:

My current project is on Brexit referendum and how it relates to identity politics more broadly. It is a project with Prof Rob Ford (Manchester) and Prof Matthew Goodwin (Kent). 

The 'Brexit Referendum' and Identity Politics in Britain: Social Cleavages, Party Competition and the Future of Immigration and Integration Policy

The June 23rd 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU revealed deep social divides which cut across traditional party lines, and set up the most complex and divisive political reform agenda for decades. The manner in which the government proceeds with this agenda will depend very much on the patterns of electoral competition it faces. All governments are sensitive to electoral pressure, and the current government, with a perilously small majority, will be no exception. The electoral pressures of the government will be- in turn- to a large extent influenced by how the politics of immigration develop post-referendum, and how much immigration policy will change in the process of leaving the EU. This proposal directly addresses two priority areas: 'Brexit and party politics' and 'Implications for migration'. This programme of high impact research will offer new insights on some of the most important new pressures on UK politics in the aftermath of the vote for Brexit. 
Our research has four goals: (1) to examine how the vote to leave the EU relates to the emergence of divisions in British society around immigration, diversity and identity, as a continuation of past trends, a transient shock, or the beginning of a fundamental political realignment; (2) to investigate how the referendum result is impacting on the internal politics and electoral strategies of the main opposition political parties to the left and right of the governing Conservative Party; (3) analyse how the referendum result is changing the politics of immigration, currently the most salient issue in the country, and map the emergence of a new agenda within this area: of immigrant integration policy and politics

It is an ESRC funded project.

PATHWAYS project sponsored under the Open Research Area call by the ESRC and its German, French and Dutch equivalents as part of the team headed by Prof Thomas Saalfeld from University of Bamberg 

This project is on descriptive and substantive representation of immigrant-origin minorities in 8 European countries. I head the UK case sudy team.


I am also a member of ESRC funded Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity


Research and projects