De-Europeanization in the United Kingdom: British discourse on the EU before and after the Brexit referendum

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De-Europeanization in the United Kingdom: British discourse on the EU before and after the Brexit referendum

Type: Master thesis
Title: De-Europeanization in the United Kingdom: British discourse on the EU before and after the Brexit referendum
Author: van Amelsvoort, Paul
Issue Date: 2018-12-22
Keywords: Europeanization
Discourse analysis
Constructivism
United Kingdom
European Union
Foreign policy
Brexit
Russia
Migration
Abstract: This thesis examines how British prime ministers have de-Europeanized the national identity through their discourse before and after the Brexit referendum – or in other words – how they turned away from the EU by using language. The research is conducted through a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of 25 speeches and statements by David Cameron and Theresa May. The timeframe begins when Cameron promised a referendum on EU membership in January 2013, and ends in October 2017, more than a year after the yes-vote. The analysis reveals that British discourse on common security threats was not gradually de-Europeanized, but internationalised by May by constructing the UK as ‘Global Britain’. Language on migrants from the EU to the UK was already de-Europeanized before the Brexit referendum, and did not change significantly after the referendum. In fact, it gradually normalised after Cameron’s General Election victory in 2015. This study also reveals that both prime ministers could ‘cherry pick’ identities, meaning that they could choose between constructing a national, European, or even global identity to their liking per policy area.
Supervisor: Schaper, Herman
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: International Relations (Master)
Specialisation: European Union Studies
ECTS Credits: 15
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/58401
 

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