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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Unsettled: Brexit and European Union nationals' sense of belonging


This article explores the dynamics of belonging of European Union (EU) nationals living in the United Kingdom (UK) in the context of UK's withdrawal from the EU. It uses a mixed-methods study of prereferendum and postreferendum survey and interviews and focus groups to investigate patterns of belonging among EU nationals, shifts in the parameters of these patterns, and the overall impact of Brexit on them. The study identifies four patterns of belonging and argues that Brexit has significantly disrupted them, shifting them towards a new phase of rationalisation and reaction reliant on migrantness, Europeanness, and rights. In the aftermath of the referendum, EU nationals began to rethink their belonging, constituting themselves as a collectivity by making use of EU citizenship and a shared European identity. This constitutive dynamics is consequential for the status of EU nationals in the UK, for the boundaries of the political community of the British state, and also for Europe.

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Population Space and Place


Ronald Ranta (United Kingdom)
Nevena Nancheva (United Kingdom)

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