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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Brexit, Trump, and “methodological whiteness': on the misrecognition of race and class

Abstract

The rhetoric of both the Brexit and Trump campaigns was grounded in conceptions of the past as the basis for political claims in the present. Both established the past as constituted by nations that were represented as white' into which racialized others had insinuated themselves and gained disproportionate advantage. Hence, the resonant claim that was broadcast primarily to white audiences in each place to take our country back'. The politics of both campaigns was also echoed in those social scientific analyses that sought to focus on the legitimate' claims of the left behind' or those who had come to see themselves as strangers in their own land'. The skewing of white majority political action as the action of a more narrowly defined white working class served to legitimize analyses that might otherwise have been regarded as racist. In effect, I argue that a pervasive methodological whiteness' has distorted social scientific accounts of both Brexit and Trump's election victory and that this needs to be taken account of in our discussion of both phenomena.

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Journal

British Journal of Sociology

Author

Gurminder K. Bhambra (United Kingdom)

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