Thursday, July 13, 2017: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
During the public debates preceding the British referendum on the country’s future in the EU, the Leave camp constructed a positive outlook of a sovereign nation (“Regain Control”), while the Remain camp developed a negative campaign with warnings about the dangerous socioeconomic implications for the UK. For many continental European actors – from social-democrats to moderate conservatives and cosmopolitan liberals – the lack of a positive vision of Europe as a “community of values” seemed particularly surprising. From such a continental viewpoint Europe as a project of peace and reconciliation seemed so readily at hand. On the other hand, an alliance became visible between populist voices spanning Eastern and Western European countries. Indeed, the debates surrounding the referendum expose a continuous and longstanding dissent between different conceptions of Europe both in Britain and continental EU member states. The question arises: Did a majority of voters reject a different Europe from the one that some continental actors would have liked them to stay with and other to break apart? The papers gathered in the proposed panel take a deeper look at the discursive strategies in imagining “Europe” in the pre- and post-referendum public debates. It assembles contributions that develop a comparative perspective, looking both from the United Kingdom to the continent, and from different continental European positions back to the continent.
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