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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

The hostile environment, Brexit, and `reactive-' or `protective transnationalism'


The `reactive transnationalism hypothesis' posits a relationship between discrimination and transnational practice. The concept has generally been studied using quantitative methods, but a qualitative approach augments our understanding of two context-specific dimensions: the nature of the discrimination involved, and the types of transnational behaviour that might be affected. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Bangladesh-origin Muslims in London, Luton and Birmingham, in the UK, we demonstrate how anti-Asian and anti-Muslim racism have been conflated with intensified anti-migrant racism in the context of `hostile environment' immigration policies and the EU referendum (Brexit), producing an amplification of racist discourses associated with purging the body politic of its non-white bodies. The insecurity generated is altering some people's relationships to Bangladesh, incentivizing investment in land and property `back home'. While this represents an example of `reactive transnationalism', we argue that `protective transnationalism' might be a more appropriate way of describing the processes at work.

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Fatima Begum Rajina (United Kingdom)

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