The Brexit referendum: how trade and immigration in the discourses of the official campaigns have legitimised a toxic (inter)national logic

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Abstract

This paper analyses the discourses produced on their websites by the two organisations that conducted the official ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ campaigns in the Brexit referendum. The analysis, which adopts the general orientation of the Discourse Historical Approach in CDS, is aimed at illuminating the main discursive strategies, argumentative schemes and key representations of Britain in/and Europe that sustained the ideological (de)legitimation of Brexit on either side. Based on this analysis, this paper argues that the specific ideological articulation of two key discursive elements–namely trade and immigration–and the argumentative schemes deployed in the campaign engendered and legitimised a new toxic (inter)national logic of Brexit: by leaving the EU, Britain ‘takes back control’ to pursue mercantile policies whose benefits ‘outsiders’ should be excluded from.

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Zappettini, F. (2019). The Brexit referendum: how trade and immigration in the discourses of the official campaigns have legitimised a toxic (inter)national logic. Critical Discourse Studies, 16(4), 403–419. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2019.1593206

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