By Chris Moreh
The referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union is a political event of great social significance, yet sociological research has not engaged with the question in any depth. This seminar series attempts to fill this gap by ‘thinking sociologically’ about the observable and (un)expected consequences of a radically changed relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The aim of the seminars is to bring together social scientists, civil society actors and members of the public, whose joint contributions will outline the theoretical and empirical possibilities of a ‘sociology of Brexit’, where ‘Brexit’ is treated as a broader phenomenon relating to uncertainty and change, and as such including the process of renegotiating the terms of the UK’s EU membership, and its discursive momentum.
The narrower context of the seminar series is defined by identifying those sociological subgroups that are most directly exposed to the effects of ‘Brexit’: EU citizens living in Britain and British citizens living in another EU country. The various academic presentations, workshops and public discussions occasioned by the seminar series will focus chiefly on the experiences of such ‘mobile citizens’, and citizenship will be the core sociological concept to be addressed in the context of the anticipation and outcome of the referendum on EU membership. The academic contributions will have the double aim of (1) proposing social theoretical explanations of how uncertainty and change affect understandings and practices of citizenship, belonging and mobility, and (2) providing detailed empirical descriptions of how these processes are being experienced by social actors. The public engagement elements of the seminars will provide an opportunity to reconstitute, reinterpret or challenge these sociological narratives and constructs, while also carrying out a clear informative task aligned with the aims of ‘public sociology’.
Originally posted 29th July 2016