Stuart provides quantitative research expertise and support to projects throughout the Civil Society Research Centre, as well as develop links between those projects and work with colleagues to exploit new research opportunities from the overlap between the Centre’s extensive research portfolio.
Stuart graduated from the University of West England in 2009 with a BA (Hons) in Politics, before moving to Nottingham University to complete a Masters Degree in Political Research. He then completed his PhD in Politics, studying the political apathy and alienation of young people in Britain and the effect of each on their political and civic participation, also at the University of Nottingham before moving to join WISERD in July 2015.
In addition to supporting projects within the Civil Society Research Centre, his current research builds on that developed in his PhD thesis, which studied a) the political participation of British Millennials, b) their political alienation and apathy, and c) the generational distinctiveness of the Millennials in terms of each. The study developed novel definitions, conceptualisations and measures of political participation, apathy and alienation, and challenged the conventional wisdom that today’s young people constitute a distinctly alienated cohort, transforming the boundaries of political participation through their embrace of alternative forms of political activity (such as Internet participation) as a substitute for more institutional and traditional forms. Rather, his thesis suggests that in the Millennials we are looking at the most politically apathetic generation in the history of British survey research, whose apathy is reflected in their unprecedented reluctance to participate in politics throughout various arenas of political life – including the electoral political process and the politics of their community. Moreover, the Millennials were also shown to be the least alienated generation in the British electorate, having a greater faith in their ability to influence political processes, and in the integrity of the political system and the actors within it, than their elders.
Following on from this study, his current research focusses on how ‘political alienation’ can be defined and measured, its effect on political and civic participation, and what its relationship with social capital and forms of social alienation might be. It also examines how and why the Millennials are so distinctive from previous generations in terms of their low levels of political and civic participation, as well as their unusually low levels of political alienation, and unusually high levels of political apathy.