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Journal Articles Journal of Contemporary European Studies Year : 2020

Post-Brexit nationalism: challenging the British political tradition?


In the UK, nationalism has been gaining ground for some time, yet Brexit appears to have exacerbated these trends and given legitimation to the nationalist cause. ‘Taking back control’ from the EU was widely regarded as a means of reinforcing parliamentary sovereignty, notably over national borders, but also, importantly, of legitimising popular sovereignty, of giving a voice to those who often feel unrepresented by their political leaders. The idea of popular sovereignty is closely linked to that of nationalism: the rise of national populism can partly be explained by the crisis of representativity in liberal democracies and the desire for more direct, participatory forms of democracy. This article seeks to analyse the British government’s articulation of nationalism following the Brexit referendum in order to determine the impact that the rise of nationalism in this peculiar context might have on democracy in the UK. Will it be Westminster business as usual or may the unleashing of nationalist sentiment represent an opportunity to move beyond the current political model ? The article also focuses on the Labour Party’s approach to nationalism, analysing its capacity to mark a rupture from dominant forms of nationalism and thus challenge the British political tradition.
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hal-02550536 , version 1 (22-04-2020)



Emma Bell. Post-Brexit nationalism: challenging the British political tradition?. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 2020, pp.1-17. ⟨10.1080/14782804.2020.1750351⟩. ⟨hal-02550536⟩


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