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Negotiating Brexit: Unpacking the Domestic Politics of Brexit

Simon Bulmer, Scott James

During the 1990s and 2000s EU-member state relations were predominantly framed in terms of Europeanization. The Eurozone, refugee and Brexit crises present a challenge to the Europeanization perspective. Policy-making has become more politicized and the direction of analysis has moved from top-down to bottom-up, reflecting the wider chorus of participants in European policy seen in the rise of anti-establishment politics across member states and indeed the UK referendum. It is now timely to re-visit how we interpret the impact of domestic politics on European policy, taking the empirical opportunities afforded by Brexit. We start from the 'default explanation' offered by liberal intergovernmentalism and offer a critique of its framework. We then seek to frame an alternative explanation that takes into account the contemporary situation. We review the potential contributions from multi-level governance, post-functionalism, politicization, neo-statecraft theory and new institutionalism. We explore how these foundations may offer a new analytical framework for exploring 'the domestic politics of Brexit'. We then offer brief case study illustration.

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