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Durham University

School of Government & International Affairs


Brexitland: Immigration, Diversity, and the making of British “Culture Wars”

11th February 2019, 16:00 to 17:30, Room 101, Elvet Hill House

Maria Sobolewska Professor of Political Science, Manchester University

Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour at Durham University invites you to join us for this event.


Is British society truly divided enough to warrant the claim of a US-style “culture war”? We explore two identity issues at the fore of British politics: immigration and ethnic diversity. We argue that in the post-Brexit Britain, the less often acknowledged conflicts over diversity loom just as large in the electorate as immigration, which became less salient after the referendum. We show that the British are divided by racial resentment and colourblind ideology associated with the US party politics, making the parallel with the American “culture wars”, with their roots in racial divides, clearer. We conclude that the incentive to play up racial divisions evident in American 2016 presidential election exists in Britain. Arguably, recent years have witnessed attempts at this from British politicians. While Brexit may help resolved some conflicts over immigration, it may also create an opportunity for politicians to mobilise other polarising identity divisions such as race.

Contact Details

T: +44 (0) 191 334 5742

F: +44 (0) 191 334 5661