Ron Johnston
In memory of

Ron Johnston
University of Bristol | UB · School of Geographical Sciences

BA, MA, PhD, DU, LLD, LLD, DLitt, DLitt

About

907
Publications
109,350
Reads
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17,970
Citations
Citations since 2016
68 Research Items
5836 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Additional affiliations
September 1995 - present
University of Bristol
Position
  • Professor
Education
January 1964 - December 1966
Monash University (Australia)
Field of study
  • Geography
September 1962 - December 1963
The University of Manchester
Field of study
  • Geography
September 1959 - June 1962
The University of Manchester
Field of study
  • Geography

Publications

Publications (907)
Article
Full-text available
This paper presents a recently transcribed copy of Ron Johnston’s inaugural lecture that he gave in 1975 following his appointment as Professor of Geography at the University of Sheffield. Entitled ‘The Spatial Variable’, it is published for the first time, with a foreword by one of Ron’s subsequent colleagues at the University of Bristol, highligh...
Chapter
Thischapterexploresmulti-scaleestimationmethods as an important future direction for segregation research in China. We explain how these recently developed methods help address many longstanding problems in traditional index-based segregation research and open up new avenues of research on Chinese cities. We explain the conceptual framework underpi...
Article
Most studies of the spatial integration of immigrant groups and their descendants in multicultural cities use broad categories only, such as ethnic/racial identity and birthplace/ancestry, implicitly assuming that such groups are homogeneous. Some are not. Instead, they are subdivided according to further cultural characteristics such as language a...
Chapter
Was the 2016 presidential election a deviating contest, with a map that differed markedly from the apparently settled pattern of the preceding three decades? Some commentators suggested that Trump’s campaign – focused on the ‘white working class’ for whom he promised to ‘Make America Great Again’ – was such an election. This chapter addresses wheth...
Article
In the previous two reports in this series, we discussed the history and current status of quantitative geography. In this final report, we focus on the future. We argue that quantitative geographers are most helpful when we can simplify difficult problems using our distinct domain expertise. To do this, we must clarify the theory underpinning core...
Preprint
In the previous two parts of this series, we discussed the history and current status of quantitative geography. In this final part, we focus on the future. We argue that quantitative geographers are most helpful when we can simplify difficult problems using our distinct domain expertise. To do this, we must clarify the theory underpinning core con...
Article
Full-text available
American politics have become increasingly polarized in recent decades, not only ideologically but also geographically. The extent of that geographical polarization is explored at the county and SMSA scales for the presidential elections held between 1992 and 2016 and also, at the much finer, precinct, scale for the 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections. T...
Article
Faced with increasing flows of immigrants from countries with very different ethnic and cultural compositions, identity has become an important part of the public debate on immigration and minority ethnic group assimilation. Yet, identificational assimilation, associated with the emergence of a new social identity as ethnic immigrant groups merge w...
Article
The first of these three reports reprised human geography’s theoretical and quantitative revolutions’ origins, covering the philosophy, focus and methods that dominated their early years. Over the subsequent decades the nature of work categorised as quantitative human geography changed very considerably – in philosophy, focus and methods. This seco...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the situation of new groups of immigrants by focusing on various categories within the heterogeneous group of individuals which comprise the White population. We combine information on country of origin, ethnicity and religion derived from the UK Labour Force Survey (LFS) to subdivide the White-British, White-Irish and White-Oth...
Article
A very large literature has explored the intensity of urban residential segregation using the index of dissimilarity. Several recent studies have undertaken such analyses at multiple spatial scales, invariably reaching the conclusion that the finer grained the spatial scale, the greater the segregation. Such findings, however, overstate the intensi...
Article
The socio-spatial structure of US metropolitan areas is the foundation of their electoral geographies: political parties and their candidates draw their support from separate groups within society whose spatial segregation is reproduced in voting patterns. As a consequence, when there are changes in a party's support base these should be reflected...
Article
Administrative data, analysed by geographical area, can tell us much about society. But the choice of geographical area frames how we see the world — and a poor choice of frame will present a misleading perspective. By Ron Johnston, Kelvyn Jones and David Manley Administrative data, analysed by geographical area, can tell us much about society. But...
Article
Science is a cumulative activity, a body of knowledge sedimented in its publications, which form the foundation for further activity. Some items attract more attention than others; some are largely ignored. This paper looks at a largely overlooked book – Statistical Geography – published by three US sociologists when geographers were launching thei...
Article
Full-text available
The literature on British Muslim women’s labour market experience suffers from four lacunae: the inadequate analysis of the multi-layered facets of their identities and the disadvantages they face; the narrow range of labour market outcomes studied (primarily labour market participation and unemployment); a lack of recent studies on the integration...
Article
Turnout at UK General Elections has remained stubbornly below post-war levels in the new millennium. Between 1950 and 1997, official turnout averaged 76% and never fell below 71% (in 1997); since 2001 average turnout has been 12 percentage points lower, at 64%. We investigate several possible explanations for that decline: the lack of competitivene...
Article
Recent analyses of voting at British general elections deploy a valence theory according to which electors evaluate each party’s performance and policies and vote accordingly. Many voters, however, avoid at least some of the effort involved in assembling and assessing information about parties’ policies and instead use heuristics such as their feel...
Article
Much has been written about the polarization of the American electorate and its reflection in its legislatures, but less about its spatial polarization, which Bishop has argued has taken place in parallel with the ideological and behavioral polarization. The extent of that polarization can be assessed, he argues, by identifying the number of landsl...
Article
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Traditional studies of residential segregation use a descriptive index approach with predefined spatial units to report the degree of neighbourhood differentiation. We develop a model-based approach which explicitly includes spatial effects at multiple scales, recognising the complexity of the urban environment while simultaneously distinguishing s...
Article
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Many ecological- and individual-level analyses of voting behaviour use multiple regressions with a considerable number of independent variables but few discussions of their results pay any attention to the potential impact of inter-relationships among those independent variables—do they confound the regression parameters and hence their interpretat...
Article
Full-text available
In the large literature on the growing polarization of the American electorate and its representatives relatively little attention is paid to the spatial polarization of voters for the two parties at presidential elections. Bishop argued this has increased as the result of residential location decisions: Democratic Party supporters have increasingl...
Article
Although pioneering studies using statistical methods in geographical data analysis were published in the 1930s, it was only in the 1960s that their increasing use in human geography led to a claim that a ‘quantitative revolution’ had taken place. The widespread use of quantitative methods from then on was associated with changes in both disciplina...
Article
Full-text available
There has been a growing appreciation that the processes generating urban residential segregation operate at multiple scales, stimulating innovations into the measurement of their outcomes. This paper applies a multi‐level modelling approach to that issue to the situation in Auckland, where multiple migration streams from both Pacific Island and As...
Article
Full-text available
Few studies of residential segregation in cities have directly addressed the issue of spatial scale, apart from noting that the traditional indices of segregation tend to be larger when calculated for small rather than large spatial units. That observation however ignores Duncan et al.’s (1961) explication that any measure of segregation at a fine-...
Article
Full-text available
Major changes in the British welfare state were initiated during the 1980s in response to the 1970s’ stagflation, rapid globalisation and the government’s inability to ensure full employment: the relatively unrestricted payment of unemployment benefits was replaced by a jobseekers’ allowance with applicants obliged to seek work actively and, if req...
Article
The rapid expansion in support for the Scottish National Party (SNP) between the 2010 and 2015 general elections substantially changed the country’s electoral geography, as again did its relative decline at the next election in 2017. At that last contest, however, the SNP won many seats with fewer than 40% of the votes cast, a situation very differ...
Article
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One feature of the result of the 2015 British general election was the reduction, to a level lower than at any time since 1945, in the number of marginal constituencies. This paper shows that the main reason for this was the change in the level and pattern of support then for the country’s smaller parties, compared to the previous election in 2010....
Article
Full-text available
We argue that Frey’s proposals are utopian and impractical, focusing on four key issues: the complexity of decision-making; politicians’ and technocrats’ importance in decision making processes; reconciling the geography of political rights in a globalising world; and recognizing how power frames political discourse and outcomes.
Article
There has been a substantial switch in approaches to the study of British voting behaviour in recent decades, with much less attention being paid to individual voters’ social positions. This paper argues that such approaches can mis-represent the contexts within which voters are socialised and mobilised and are also technically problematic because...
Article
Full-text available
Most studies of ethnic residential segregation recognise that occupational class is an important influence on the intensity of segregation of members of different ethnic groups, but are unable to explore variations in that intensity because of the lack of relevant data. Australian census data allow the class structure of different ancestry groups t...
Article
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Ethnic segregation, in both neighbourhoods and schools, is an issue regularly raised in the British media, usually associated with arguments that it is growing and generating an increasingly-divided society. Segregation in schools is often presented as particularly problematic, and as greater than neighbourhood segregation – with the implication th...
Article
After a period of relative stability the United Kingdom’s electoral map changed markedly in the last decades of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first. The three most recent elections – in 2010, 2015 and 2017 – witnessed further very substantial change, in part reflecting changes to the party system and the geography of part...
Article
Several commentators before and after the 2016 US presidential election claimed that it involved a “redrawing of the country’s electoral map”, which in the context of the Key/Pomper classification of elections suggested that it was a deviating election, and potentially a critical election heralding a realignment. Analysis of the geography of the re...
Article
Full-text available
Economic activity among Muslim women in the UK remains considerably lower and their unemployment rate significantly higher than among the majority group even after controlling for qualifications and other individual characteristics. This study utilises two data sets to explore possible factors underlying these differences, such as overseas qualific...
Article
Recent decades have seen substantial growth across many developed-world countries of right-wing populist political parties whose policies oppose immigration and multiculturalism as threats to the majority way of life there. These are exemplified in Australia by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, which was successful at elections there at the turn o...
Article
Most models of immigrant minority enclave formation in cities represent their situation as relatively transient elements in urban residential mosaics. As minority group members become both economically integrated and socially-culturally assimilated into the host society, so they move away from the enclaves where they initially concentrated. Such sh...
Article
Most of the analysis before the 2016 referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union based on opinion polling data focused on which groups were more likely to support each of the two options, with less attention to the geography of that support – although some regions, especially London and Scotland, were expected to provide subst...
Article
Members of the British Labour party have, not for the first time, criticised the Boundary Com-missions’ proposals for new constituency boundaries as gerrymandering. This represents a mis-use of the term: the Commissions have produced recommended constituencies in the context ofnew rules for such redistributions that give precedence to equality of el...
Article
Scotland’s 2014 Independence Referendum affords a rare opportunity to examine public support for the break-up of a long-established, stable democracy. Analyses of support for Scottish independence reveal that while issues of national identity loomed large in the vote, they were not the only factors involved. Questions around the economic and politi...
Article
Most studies of the ‘friends and neighbours’ effect in voting behaviour have accounted for their observed patterns using Key's classic identification of this effect as reflecting localism and voting for the ‘home town boy’. This paper introduces other potential local influences, and hypothesizes that there should be separate local friends', neighbo...
Article
For many students, entering a geography degree program exposes them to new, probably unexpected, material. Almost all beginning undergraduates in United Kingdom universities, for example, have studied geography right through high school, but although some subject matter and approaches are common at both types of institution much is not; university...
Article
The distribution of voting rights in the UK is an artefact of history rather than a product of clear legal or philosophical principles. Consequently, some resident aliens (i.e. immigrants) have the right to vote in all UK elections; others can vote in local elections but are excluded from national elections; still others are excluded from all elect...
Article
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Much quantitative behavioural social science – a great deal of it exploratory in nature – involves the analysis of multivariate contingency tables, usually deploying logistic binomial and multinomial regression models with no exploration of interaction effects, despite arguments that this should be a crucial element of the analysis. This paper buil...
Article
Scotland’s 2014 Independence Referendum affords a rare opportunity to examine public support for the break-up of a long-established, stable democracy. Analyses of support for Scottish independence reveal that while issues of national identity loomed large in the vote, they were not the only factors involved. Questions around the economic and politi...
Article
There has been considerable debate regarding a hypothesis that the American electorate has become spatially more polarized over recent decades. Using a new method for measuring polarization, this paper evaluates that hypothesis regarding voting for the Democratic party’s presidential candidates at six elections since 1992, at three separate spatial...
Article
Electoral bias results in an asymmetrical seat distribution between parties with similar vote shares. Over recent British general elections Labour held an advantage because it efficiently converted votes into seats. Following the 2015 election result this advantage has reduced considerably, principally because Labour’s vote distribution saw it accu...
Article
Most studies of ethnic residential segregation that address the issue of spatial scale make it implicit – if not explicit – that segregation is greater at smaller than larger scales. Such studies, however, invariably measure segregation separately at those scales, and take no account of the fact that measures at the smaller scale necessarily incorp...
Article
Full-text available
Much has been written in recent years about the claimed polarization of the U.S. electorate, with substantial differences as to whether there has been greater spatial polarization, at several geographical scales, over recent decades. To assess the veracity of those alternative views, a bespoke data set showing percentage support for the Democratic...
Article
The local media have recently carried a number of stories suggesting that Muslim ghettoes are developing in British cities – a claim also made about European cities more generally. Analysis of data from the 2001 and 2011 Censuses of England and Wales suggests that these representations are journalistic hyperbole: most British Muslims live in small...
Article
Analyses the effects of political homogeneity and heterogeneity in citizens’ conversation networks on ideological position Other things being equal, membership of more politically homogenous conversation networks leads individuals into more extreme political evaluations Network homogeneity drives polarisation of political attitudes and creates larg...
Article
Three geographical elements play major roles in the operation of the UK's electoral system: the geography of support – how spatially segregated each party's voters are; the geographical clustering of those segregated areas; and the constituency boundaries within which those geographies are nested. In the period from 1970 to 2010 as a result of the...
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Full-text available
This contribution focuses on the changing nature of party competition in the United Kingdom. They argue that party systems scholars too often treat national territories as homogeneous blocks, thereby overlooking the spatial variations that can substantially undermine generalizations that assume national uniformity. Among other things, their examina...
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Most studies of urban residential segregation analyse it at a single-scale only, usually the smallest for which relevant census data are available. Following a recent argument that such segregation is multiscalar, this paper reports on multilevel modelling of the segregation of 42 ancestral groups in Sydney, Australia, looking at its intensity at f...
Article
London's housing prices have increased over recent decades at a much faster rate than incomes creating financial and quality-of-life problems for many of its inhabitants. This increase has occurred during a period of population growth, much of it of immigrant lower income individuals, families and households, and their descendants who are members o...
Article
The increasing volume of available 'big data' contains great potential for public policy to be evidence-based - as long as they are properly analysed and fully appreciated. This paper examines a case where that did not happen, and as a consequence an ideological-driven policy change was supported by a poor analysis of the available data. Using the...
Article
The practice of geography – literally ‘earth writing,’ from the Greek geo and graphein – extends back at least 2000 years, but it has a much shorter history as an academic discipline, with little formal presence in either universities or schools before the twentieth century. Its key concepts are environment, place, scale, and space and it seeks to...
Article
Electoral geography provides a spatial perspective to the study of the organization, conduct, and outcome of elections. Its main focus is on the nature of, and interactions between, three maps. Two refer to the ‘inputs’ – the geography of support for parties and/or candidates (themselves in many cases a function of the geography of the social group...
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The melting-pot argument, whereby economically heterogeneous multi-cultural societies, characterised by high levels of immigration from a variety of origins, become more homogeneous over time, has attracted much attention, especially in North America.Australia has similarly experienced major waves of immigration from a wide range of cultural backgr...
Article
In a series of publications, Dorling has argued that there is a strong correlation between levels of inequality in Great Britain and the spatial concentration of Conservative party support at general elections. His interpretation of this relationship is questioned; the interpretation is inconsistent with the data and fails to take account of Britai...
Article
Full-text available
Most attention in British electoral studies has been paid to the pattern of voting for parties, with relatively little to that for individual candidates. In intra-party elections, however, candidates may perform better in some areas than others, illustrating V. O. Key's well-known “friends and neighbours” effect. This paper explores whether that wa...
Article
Danny Dorling (2015), Injustice: Why Social Inequality Still Persists. Revised Edition. Bristol: Policy Press, £9.99, pp.473, pbk. - Volume 45 Issue 1 - RON JOHNSTON
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Comparative literature suggests that campaigning efforts impact positively, both in terms of mobilization and turnout. Effects are not uniform. They may be affected by the electoral system, the electoral circumstances and the effectiveness of party management. Studies of district level (constituency) campaigning in Britain have identified two impor...
Article
First-past-the-post electoral rules create strong incentives for parties to focus their campaigns on key marginal seats and much research has been devoted to the vote-winning potential of such activity. Less attention has been given to local party organisations’ ability to mount these campaigns, however. We therefore examine recent evidence of Brit...
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Most world cities can now be characterized as multiethnic and multicultural in their population composition, and the residential patterning of their major component ethnic groups remains a topic of substantial research interest. Many studies of the degree of residential segregation of ethnic groups recognize that this is multiscalar in its composit...
Article
Background There have been recent suggestions that the majority of cancers are caused by random cell mutations, as opposed to environmental and inheritable factors. We hypothesise that if this is the case, then there would be no geographical patterning to cancer mortality rates at the neighbourhood level. Our paper presents a test of this hypothesi...
Article
Following the publication of the 2001 and 2011 Census data, considerable attention has been given to patterns of ethnic residential segregation within the UK. The evidence contributes to debates about integration; however, as Kapoor (2013) has argued, discussion about it also risks promoting the idea that what we measure is voluntary segregation, a...
Article
A disciplinary canon comprises a body of work - almost invariably textual - that is represented as highly influential in its development, laying the foundations on which contemporary practices have been built. Such works, most often books, are sources that all students should address to appreciate the disciplinary fundamentals - where it has come f...
Article
Analyses of local campaign effects are dominated by aggregate-level analyses of constituency activity. Though individual-level data are available on whether voters are (or remember being) contacted by parties during campaigns, their analysis is fraught with difficulties, not least the extent to which memory of campaign contact is itself conditioned...
Article
Full-text available
The existence of ethnic penalties in the operations of the UK labour market is well established, although many studies have focused upon only unemployment and income as measures of labour-market performance. Few have looked at changes in those penalties over time, especially during a period including a major recent recession, and whether they were...
Article
An increasing volume of research has suggested the efficacy of get-out-the-vote campaigns in the UK: having identified its potential supporters, a party then contacts them to encourage them to turn out on election day, and those contacted are more likely to reward the party by voting for it than are those not contacted. This article illustrates the...
Article
Is the local campaign in sub-national elections less intense than national elections? Did campaigning have an impact on those contacted and on party performance; and was campaigning as effective at second as at first-order contests? For the first time, our analysis of local campaigning in the 2010 general election and the 2011 Welsh Assembly electi...
Article
James Lovelock (2014), A Rough Ride to the Future. London: Allen Lane. £16.99, pp. 184, hbk. - Volume 44 Issue 2 - RON JOHNSTON
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This article reanalyses data used by Reinhart and Rogoff (2010c, American Economic Review, 100: 573–78—RR), and later Herndon et al. (2013, Cambridge Journal of Economics, online, doi: 10.1093/cje/bet075) to consider the relationship between growth and debt in developed countries. The consistency over countries and the causal direction of RR’s so c...
Article
Many cities world-wide are becoming increasingly multi-cultural and multi-ethnic in their population composition. However, little attention has been paid in the massive literature on the resultant residential mosaics as to whether the outcomes of those changes are common across a national urban system or whether there are local variations – or to t...
Article
The United Kingdom's Department for Education has recently changed the nature of the AS-level examinations normally taken by students aspiring to enter higher education degree courses one year into their post-compulsory education. In the face of protests from universities and other institutions that this would both harm students’ progression toward...
Article
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We develop and apply a multilevel modelling approach that is simultaneously capable of assessing multi-group and multi-scale segregation in the presence of substantial stochastic variation which accompanies ethnicity rates based on small absolute counts. Bayesian MCMC estimation of a log-Normal Poisson models allows the calculation of the variance...
Article
London has become an ethnically much more diverse city over recent decades but has that growing macro-scale diversity been replicated in its myriad neighbourhoods? Using recently released 2011 census data and an established methodology for classifying small areas according to the ethnic composition of their populations, this paper explores the exte...