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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Moral regulation and a good moral panic: UK Polish migrant workers and the 2016 EU Referendum

Abstract

The UK 2016 EU Referendum has introduced a period of uncertainty for both the indigenous population and for non-British citizens. This uncertainty is considered within a framework of the recent revisions in the sociology of moral panics through an analysis of interviews with Polish migrant workers. This analysis reveals two main discursive framing logics. The first logic refers to a self-reported anti-Polish migrant moral panic discourse that - according to respondents - was exploited by British anti-migrant campaigners. The second type of articulation illustrates the good moral panic logic, namely, a panicking discourse appearing among respondents about the vulnerability of their community in post-Referendum Britain. This article, however, problematises the good moral panic logic by eliciting competing narratives found in the interview data. The latter did not aim merely at stimulating caring attitudes but referred also to moral regulation techniques to manage Brexit-oriented risks and avoid the trap of becoming a vulnerable migrant.

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Journal

Current Sociology

Authors

Ian Fitzgerald (United Kingdom)

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