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Identity, Diversity and the Reshaping of British Politics

Maria Sobolewska (University of Manchester) Robert Ford (University of Manchester)



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Cambridge University Press
15 October 2020
Long-term social and demographic changes - and the conflicts they create - continue to transform British politics. In this accessible and authoritative book Sobolewska and Ford show how deep the roots of this polarisation and volatility run, drawing out decades of educational expansion and rising ethnic diversity as key drivers in the emergence of new divides within the British electorate over immigration, identity and diversity. They argue that choices made by political parties from the New Labour era onwards have mobilised these divisions into politics, first through conflicts over immigration, then through conflicts over the European Union, culminating in the 2016 EU referendum. Providing a comprehensive and far-reaching view of a country in turmoil, Brexitland explains how and why this happened, for students, researchers, and anyone who wants to better understand the remarkable political times in which we live.
By:   ,
Imprint:   Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 215mm,  Width: 138mm,  Spine: 25mm
Weight:   520g
ISBN:   9781108461900
ISBN 10:   1108461905
Pages:   408
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Undergraduate ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
1. Introduction: how Britain became Brexitland; 2. Social change, ehnocentrism and the emergence of new identity divides; 3. Divided over diversity: identity conservatives and identity liberals; 4. Legacies of empire: Commonwealth immigration and the historical roots of identity politics divides; 5. The long divorce: parties and voters parting ways; 6. The identity conservative insurgency and the rise of UKIP; 7: Change without recovery: how the coalition catalysed Labour's demographic transformation; 8. Brexitland awakened: identity politics and the EU referendum; 9. Dancing to a different tune: identity politics and political change in Scotland 2007-19; 10. Brexitland after Brexit: the electoral fallout from the EU referendum; 11. Conclusion: the new politics of Brexitland.

Maria Sobolewska FRSA is a Professor of Political Science, and Deputy Director of the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, at the University of Manchester, and a Specialist Adviser to a House of Lords Select Committee on electoral registration. She is co-author of The Political Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Britain (2013). Robert Ford FRSA is Professor of Political Science at the University of Manchester. He is an expert on immigration, public opinion, and party politics in Britain. His first book, Revolt on the Right (2013), was named Political Book of the Year in 2015. He writes regularly on British electoral politics for national and international media outlets.

Reviews for Brexitland: Identity, Diversity and the Reshaping of British Politics

'A sharp, accessible investigation of the key fault lines of modern British politics: education, immigration, age and identity.' Adam Boulton, Sky News 'Maria Sobolewska and Robert Ford have produced the best account I have read of our cultural civil wars. The work is not just an explanation of the way we live now, but of how we reached a state of institutionalised rage and why peace will be so hard to find.' Nick Cohen, The Spectator and The Observer 'Brexitland brilliantly unpicks the old and new forces that shaped our brittle political age. Who is exploiting the anger? And is it with us for good? A fascinating and convincing study: essential reading for anyone wanting to understand why tolerance of the other side in British politics seems to have disappeared. How did our political battleground turn so ugly and intolerant? Brexitland delves deep into decades of history and attitudes to race and ethnic identity to answer that question, and does it with style. Sobolewska and Ford have written the new political bible of our times: how did we stop debating and start shouting? Can normal service resume? Brexitland is a razor-sharp and compelling answer to those questions.' Gary Gibbon, Channel 4 News 'A brilliant, original, powerful book. For Remainers, Brexiters or indeed anyone interested in why divided Britain cut itself adrift from the EU, this is unmissable. It is also totally riveting.' Toby Helm, The Observer 'Whether we like it or not, we are all living in Brexitland. In forensic detail, Sobolewska and Ford plot the long road of social change which led us here. En route, they look ahead to where the UK's explosive culture wars could take us next. Essential reading for those not wearing blinkers.' Helen Lewis, author of Difficult Women

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