Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


22 November 2017

The roles of category use and Brexit throughout debates about the ‘refugee crisis’

Presented By Simon Goodman (Coventry)
  • 1-2pm (part of the CRCC seminar series)
  • Brockington U1.14

About this event

The ‘refugee crisis’ refers to the movement of people into Europe from 2015 onwards. This event also coincided with campaigning over ‘Brexit’, in which the British public eventually voted for the UK to leave the European Union (EU) spring 2016. This talk will present discourse analyses of three aspects of the way in which the crisis was presented and debated. First, it will be shown how the terminology used to present the ‘crisis’ and those people involved has evolved, with the location and category of people involved in the crisis changing following key events. Second, the way in which immigration figured into the Brexit campaign is addressed, showing that (1) leave campaigners presented immigration as out of control. This included immigration from outside of the EU and those arriving in Europe as refugees. (2) Remain campaigners presented Brexit as an ineffective way of controlling migration and (3) in limited cases immigration was presented as beneficial. Finally, it is shown how Brexit became topicalised in the refugee debate, where ‘problematic’ refugees were used to show why Brexit is necessary. Together this suggests that the leave campaign’s attempts to link Brexit with migration were successful.