Conference Agenda

RN31_05: Brexit
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: David Seymour, City Law School, University of London
Location: UP.4.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road


Brexit And The ‘Post-Racial’ Fallacy

Laura Connelly, Tina G. Patel

University of Salford, United Kingdom

There is an emerging body of scholarship which seeks to understand the motivations behind the ‘Brexit’ vote, including that which centralises explorations of racism, nationalism and post-colonialism. However, little consideration has been given to the way in which ‘post-racial’ racisms underpin the narratives of Leave voters. By drawing on data generated through 13 semi-structured interviews and 114 questionnaires with Leave voters in Salford (Greater Manchester, UK) – a city that saw a higher percentage of the electorate (56.8%) vote to leave the EU than the national average (51.9%) – this paper explores the subtle and subterranean ways in which xeno-racisms were articulated in the accounts of some Leave voters. Although restricting immigration was a key motivator of Salford Leave voters, they vehemently rejected accusations of racism and instead, couched their views in seemingly non-racial ways. Specifically, our participants framed their vote as a response to what they perceived to be the victimisation of the ‘marginalised’ white ‘indigenous’ population. Therefore, in discussing our data, we argue that far from living in a ‘post-racial’ epoch where ‘race’ and racism are assumed to be things of the past, racisms continue to thrive through new modes of articulation. These ‘post-racial’ racisms emerge from the shadows at key moments and are fundamental to understanding ‘Brexit’.

Moving Bodies: The impact of Brexit on Roma in South Yorkshire

Tina Girishbhai Patel1, Phillip Martin1, Phillip Brown1, Philippa Tyler2

1University of Salford, United Kingdom; 2Migration Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Despite anti-discrimination legislation and initiatives to support the inclusion/integration of Roma, there is a level of hostility that disadvantages Roma in ways that few other racialised group experiences. This racialised persecution results in the marginalisation of Roma communities and evidences the fallacy of claims that we are now living in a post-race era. Using qualitative data collected before and immediately after the UK’s 2016 European Union Referendum vote, this paper reports on the experiences of Roma communities in South Yorkshire – a region where almost two thirds (61.56%) voted to leave the European Union, which is a figure higher than the national average of 52%. This paper discusses how the presentation of Roma as ‘irregular migrants’ who pose a security threat to public order, are now more than ever in these post-Referendum times, putting Roma at enhanced risk of the neoliberal agenda to securitise their mobility. It is argued that rather than passively accepting their confined mobility, members of Roma communities are that this has been informed by notions of identity, space and citizenship. Regardless of the actual decision, Roma communities are actively and assertively mapping their future projections.

‘Go Back to Auschwitz, You Polish Bastards’: Everyday Experiences of Xenophobia and Racism among White Racialized Young EU Nationals in Brexit Britain

Daniela Sime

University of Strathclye, United Kingdom

For young people who migrated to Britain as children, Brexit is personal not political, a major rupture to their sense of belonging and an added insecurity in the process of their identity formation. Brexit has key implications for their future, in the context of their increasingly denied citizenship and rights. This paper draws on a unique study with over 1,000 young EU nationals aged 12-18 who moved to the UK as children. Data included a UK-wide survey, 20 focus groups and participatory family case studies. I examine young people's position as white youth who are subjected to an ongoing process of racialisation by others and examine localised whiteness as it intersects with dimensions of age, class, nation and gender. While EU nationals were mainly viewed as non-racial universal individuals before Brexit through their whiteness, and as ‘desirable’ migrants, the increasingly hostile and anti-immigration environment fueled by politicians and certain segments of the media has cancelled their invisibility. I show with data how young people are racialized through markers such as their accent or use of European languages in public, food and music they like or clothes they wear, or their migrant background. Their everyday experiences of being othered include racist and xenophobic microagressions, often disguised as banter or jokes, but also physical attacks in public places or their homes. The paper progresses existing knowledge by focussing on young people's experiences in the context of current public debates on Europe and issues of national and European identity and questions whiteness as a norm or fixed trait which determines young people’s life chances post-migration.

If there is time, we will show this video: