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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Before and beyond Brexit: political dimensions of UK lifestyle migration

Abstract

Lifestyle migration is a now-established subfield within the anthropology of migration, and interdisciplinary migration studies, usually justified by its extensive and increasing spread, globally. Yet, bar a few exceptions, the political behaviour of lifestyle migrants has been relatively neglected. I redress this imbalance by critically comparing two overlapping processes where British migrants to Spain act politically: elected councillors in town halls; and campaigning anti-Brexit activists. This pair is as comparable as it is contrastive. In theoretical terms, I argue that modern versions of practice theory are a useful mode for analysing municipal activity by foreign agents, while the Brexit process, because novel, fast-paced, and open-ended, is better understood via Isin's `enactment of citizenship' approach. Both explanatory modes are powerful, have perspectival slants, and are best applied to different contexts and styles of contest: practice theorists research how people work with change; Isinians research how they produce it. The article also furthers the anthropology of citizenship by investigating a case where citizenship of a country is no longer a prerequisite for legitimate political activity in it.

Journal

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Author

Jeremy MacClancy (United Kingdom)

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