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Brexit with a little ‘b’: navigating belonging, ordinary Brexits, and emotional relations

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Cathrine Degnen



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


This article analyses senses of belonging and belonging disrupted via the lens of Brexit with a little ‘b’: namely at the level of ordinary experiences in the flow of daily lives. Our interlocutors recount these as deeply emotionally charged experiences. Their accounts supplement and help nuance more widespread popular explanatory models of the referendum vote and its outcomes. Examining brexit through the intersection of belonging and emotion permits new insights into how place became linked in social imaginaries with Leave and Remain. It also permits closer analysis of how senses of belonging are relationally and differentially mediated by other identities including class, race, ethnicity, and migration status, and how these intersect unevenly with and have a consequence for people’s senses of belonging. This includes demonstrating how the privileged sense of belonging of many white middle-class Britons (both Leave and Remain supporting) was disrupted and sense of ontological security was jarred, as well as how people navigated the multiple social and cultural outcomes of the referendum in their daily lives, networks of intimate social relations, and local places.

Publication metadata

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

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Year: 2024

Volume: 30

Issue: 1

Pages: 23-41

Print publication date: 01/03/2024

Online publication date: 10/10/2023

Acceptance date: 21/05/2023

Date deposited: 07/08/2023

ISSN (print): 1359-0987

ISSN (electronic): 1467-9655

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1467-9655.14043


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