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The University of Southampton
Politics and International RelationsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Dr. Valgarðsson, Dr. Clarke, Prof. Jennings and Prof. Stoker win the Harrison Prize

Published: 6 July 2022
Harrison prize winners

PAIR is delighted to announce that the winner of the 2021 Harrison Prize is 'The Good Politician and Political Trust: An Authenticity Gap in British Politics?' by Viktor Orri Valgarðsson, Nick Clarke, Will Jennings and Gerry Stoker.


There are three broad sets of qualities that citizens might expect politicians to display: competence, integrity and authenticity. To be authentic, a politician must be judged to be in touch with the lives and outlooks of ordinary people and previous research has suggested that this expectation has grown more prevalent in recent times. In this article, we use survey evidence from Britain – from citizens, parliamentarians and journalists – to explore which groups are prone to judge politicians by which criteria. While all groups give the highest absolute importance to integrity traits, we establish that distrusting citizens are significantly more likely to prioritise authenticity. For political elites and journalists, we find indications that authenticity is less valued than among citizens: politicians place more relative importance on integrity traits while journalists value competence most. We reflect on these findings and how they help us understand the growing crisis afflicting British politics.

Read the full article online.

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