Morrison J (2019) Re-framing free movement in the countdown to Brexit? Shifting UK press portrayals of EU migrants in the wake of the referendum. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 21 (3), pp. 594-611. https://doi.org/10.1177/1369148119851385
This article argues that long-standing press portrayals of economic migrants as threats to Britain’s economic wellbeing underwent a marked turn immediately after the 2016 ‘Brexit’ referendum.
Following an intense campaign during which most national newspapers problematised European Union free movement, the month after the vote saw even ‘Euro-sceptic’ titles shift towards
emphasising the economic costs of ending it. Within six months, however, discourses framing migrants as ‘invaders’ and/or ‘exploiters’ resurfaced. The article conceptualises the immediate post-referendum period as one of discursive aftershock, as key actors struggled to absorb the outcome and newspapers accustomed to years of spoon-feeding with simplistic pro- and antiEuropean Union rhetoric scrambled to find fresh sources of newsworthy conflict in a ‘post-war’ climate. In so doing, it contributes to our understanding of the multidirectional complexity of the agenda-setting process, by showing how shifts in the nature of public debate can help re-frame the narrative preoccupations of the media.
Brexit; discourse; framing; free movement; migrants; newspapers
British Journal of Politics and International Relations: Volume 21, Issue 3
|Publication date online||20/06/2019|
|Date accepted by journal||20/06/2019|