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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Re-framing free movement in the countdown to Brexit? Shifting UK press portrayals of EU migrants in the wake of the referendum
Author(s): Morrison, James
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Keywords: Brexit
free movement
Issue Date: Aug-2019
Date Deposited: 6-Apr-2023
Citation: 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. <i>British Journal of Politics and International Relations</i>, 21 (3), pp. 594-611.
Abstract: 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 anti European 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.
DOI Link: 10.1177/1369148119851385
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