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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

British immigration policy, depoliticisation and Brexit


This paper seeks to problematise the historical significance of the EU for British governing strategy with reference to immigration policy and the concept of depoliticisation. Situating British governing strategy in terms of the crisis-prone nature of capitalist society, this paper argues that British immigration policy has been depoliticised through, initially, the invocation of globalisation and, more recently, the EU. Through this strategy, the British state has been able to repeatedly claim that immigration policy is largely out of its hands, as they have no control over workers wishing to enter Britain looking for work. This paper makes three claims: firstly, immigration policy has been used as a means by both Conservative and Labour governments to manage inflation and labour; secondly, successive governments have sought to depoliticise immigration policy through reference to external forces; thirdly, this strategy of depoliticisation ultimately failed, politicising Britain's relationship with the EU and creating conditions for Britain's exit from the EU.

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Comparative European Politics


Pinar E. Donmez (United Kingdom)
Alex Sutton (United Kingdom)

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