Deconstructing Brexit: The Changing Faces of British Euroscepticism

Evangelos Fanoulis, Simona Guerra

Following the British referendum of June 2016, the British people mandated Theresa May's government to invoke Article 50 of TEU and commence the institutional procedure for the UK to exit the Union. It might be too early for political scientists to draw inferences about how the Brexit will affect British and European politics and policies, yet not too early to explore the socio-political context surrounding Brexit negotiations. This article argues that a deconstructive reading of Brexit can provide an alternative, radical understanding of how Euroscepticism as an ideological plane in its own merit has capitalised on the embedded Euroscepticism in British society in order to thrive. The structure of the article is as follows. The first section briefly presents the epistemological frames employed and combined in our analysis, namely Derrida's deconstruction and the strategic use of Euroscepticism. The section that follows deconstructs the idea of Euroscepticism as political ideology by looking at the interactions between its meaning and context. Drawing upon a Derridean version of discourse analysis, the third section delves into the official discourse of Theresa May's Cabinet (analysis of speeches and statements) to show how the Eurosceptic views of British political leadership is founded upon an implicit yet existing British narrative of the EU. The concluding remarks reflect on the contingency of British Euroscepticism becoming ontologically independent as an embedded frame when it has up to date so greatly depended on its strategic use.

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