Book identifies the perfect storm that led to Britain's Brexit decision

Issue date: 27 November 2017

Dr Graham Taylor

A political sociologist from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has identified the historical context that led to the decision by a majority vote in the EU Referendum to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016.

In his book 'Understanding Brexit – Why Britain voted to leave the European Union' Dr Graham Taylor provides a forensic analysis of one of the most dramatic events to confront British Society since the Second World War.

The introduction 'Brexit means Brexit – or does it?' sets the scene and identifies the four inter-related dynamics that mutually reinforced and culminated in the perfect storm that resulted in Brexit.

Dr Taylor says that the roots for the decision can be traced back many decades and that historical understanding is vital to informing how and why Brexit happened.

He said, “The Brexit decision can be simply explained as the most visible tip of the iceberg of social change that has been decades in the making.

“Hidden from view are a matrix of economic, socio-cultural and political dynamics that have wrought fundamental changes to the British state and society and the relationship between the UK and the rest of the world.”

The book presents the case that Brexit happened when these four long term trajectories in Britain's development converged.

These trajectories include firstly, a range of contested interpretations of Britishness; secondly, the tensions within the economy particularly de-industrialisation and economic insecurity for many.

Thirdly, the emergence of new popular nationalisms spurred by cultural declines in perceived strength of British culture largely blamed on immigration.

Finally, the de-alignment of party politics created a legitimacy amongst the marginal and insecure that was exploited by Eurosceptic movements of the populist right.

The book is published on Wednesday 29th November as part of the Society Now series from Emerald Publishing.

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