We are an interdisciplinary network entitled Brexit’s Aftermaths: Contesting Insecurities across the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. Working across Politics, Sociology, Geography, Media and Communication, Anthropology and Languages across the three universities, we have the chance to work closely with civil society and local government partners as part of the network.

Each PhD will produce new and complementary knowledge about the emerging frontiers, spaces and discourses of contestation in the aftermaths of Brexit, with a particular focus on the role of digital technologies.

We have an interest in critical interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary migration, citizenship, and activism, and in applying innovative digital methodologies to investigating these issues.

Brexit’s Aftermaths: Contesting Insecurities

Anna Bailie: Brexit, Incivility and Digital Contestation – supervised by Alexandra Hall

Michael Thompson: (Re)mapping (In)securities -supervised by Deirdre Conlon and Gareth Millington

Alex Kirby-Reynolds: Brexit and the Re-Narration of Discord – supervised by Hannah Lewis and Simon Popple

Network overview:

The 2016 UK vote to leave the EU is the most seismic political event for a generation, bringing with it reconfigured political, social and economic futures. The vote unveiled widespread anxieties about the economy, the welfare state, social cohesion and immigration. It also, importantly, unleashed a series of ricocheting insecurities that are permeating intimate, domestic and public spaces for citizens and non-citizens alike. These insecurities are not wholly novel in origin: they are best understood as reformulations of intractable and longstanding racial, religious, ethnic and class divisions in UK society. Current uncertainities for citizens and non-citizens pose a profound, and perhaps unforeseen, threat to individual, familial, community and national confidence, ontological security and wellbeing. The challenge is to contest contemporary divisions in novel, creative and productive ways.

This network will generate new knowledge about the emerging frontiers, spaces and discourses of contestation in Brexit’s aftermaths. It takes seriously the ideathat the leave vote poses a serious challenge for established narratives of inclusion, like multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, solidarity and post-national identity. It also takes seriously the idea that individuals, communities and civil society groups face new challenges (but also have new opportunities) to negate the multiple effects of the Brexit’s after-effects in everyday life. At this juncture, social science research about the efforts to counter Brexit’s deleterious fall-out has an important role to play in national debate about the future of an inclusive UK outside Europe. Research also needs to be responsive to the multi-scalar effects of insecurities – from intimate family lives to public urban spaces and social media. Moreover, research must acknowledge that countering the ‘new’ politics of insecurity UK society necessitates strategies that exceed established binaries of solidarity/hostility, inclusion/exclusion, citizen/other, precarious/secure. These shared ideas underpin the PhD projects.