Skip to main content
Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Locating Brexit in the Pragmatics of Race, Citizenship and Empire


The UK referendum on continued membership of the European Union (EU), which produced a victory for the leave campaign, was less a debate on the pros and cons of membership than a proxy for discussions about race and migration, specifically, who belonged and had rights (or should have rights) and who did not (and should not). One of the key slogans of those arguing for exit from the EU was ‘we want our country back’. The racialized discourses at work here were not only present explicitly in the politics of the event but they are also implicit in much social scientific analysis. Populist political claims are mirrored by an equivalent social scientific ‘presentism’ that elides proper historical context. In this chapter, I discuss the importance of understanding Brexit in the context of a historical sociological understanding that would enable us to make better sense of the politics of the present.

You might also be interested in :

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


Brexit - Sociological responses


Gurminder K. Bhambra (United Kingdom)

Article meta

Country / region covered

Year of Publication

Source type