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Don’t EU Want Me Baby: Successes and Failures in Brexit Campaigning

Mon, May 29, 17:00 to 18:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 206


This paper examines the results of the 2016 EU referendum alongside the campaign techniques of both the proponents of remain and leave. Expanding on the work of Fenton (2011) on New Social Movements, this article draws out the failures and successes of the ‘Brexit’ campaigns within a new context of political and civic participation. Analysis highlights the failure on both sides of the debate to utilize new and traditional media platforms to overcome barriers of low trust and political efficacy. Furthermore, analysis reveals how fragmentation in political networks across socio-economic and generational lines was utilized by ‘Leave’ groups and under-addressed by ‘Remain’ groups in the course of campaigning. Through a dual analysis of data from the campaigns and the outcome, lessons can be learned as to how political and social movements can be best placed to intervene in both institutional and broader politics.

Keywords: EU Referendum – New Social Movements – Media – Campaigns


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