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Leavers and Remainers as ‘Kinds of People’: Accusations of Racism amidst Brexit

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Cathrine Degnen



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


After the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, leavers and remainers have become identified in media, political, intellectual, social scientific and everyday discourses with a contested set of racialised and classed characteristics. Central to this portrayal of leavers and remainers is the idea widespread within remain-orientated discourse that leavers are more likely to hold racist attitudes on questions of multiculturalism and immigration compared to remainers. This article draws on fieldwork that examines the emotive accusation of racism articulated by leavers and remainers at each other, and expressed in everyday discourses and social interactions. We explore the ways in which racism becomes reduced within social interactions to an individual characteristic of leave or remain ‘kinds of people’. Our argument is that the individualisation of racism in this way inadvertently displaces and curtails critical reflection on the reproduction of white privilege in British society.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tyler K, Degnen C, Blamire J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ethnos

Year: 2022

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 12/12/2022

Acceptance date: 30/11/2022

Date deposited: 01/12/2022

ISSN (print): 0014-1844

ISSN (electronic): 1469-588X

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2022.2155208

ePrints DOI: 0


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