Sussex European Institute

Research

One year after the EU Referendum: creating a new data set in the Mass Observation Project

Project team: James Hampshire, Nuno Ferreira, Liz McDonnell, Laura Morosanu, Emily Robinson, Mark Walters

In partnership with the Sussex European Institue, researchers from the departments of Law, Politics and Sociology are collaborating on an exciting interdisciplinary project. Funded by Sussex University’s Research Development Fund (£11,339) and by LPS funds (£3,000),  this research seeks to document and understand the complex experiences and perceptions of ordinary British residents as they navigate the dramatic and unfolding political and social changes, triggered by the EU Referendum.  A commissioned directive has been developed with the

Mass Observation Project and has produced a new data corpus consisting of reflective accounts, focusing on the impact of Brexit in the following areas of everyday life: belonging, identity, social and personal relationships, prejudice, perceptions of immigration and politics.   Analysis of the data will start in January 2018 and provide the basis for a much larger ESRC bid that extends the unique panel writing element of the Mass Observation Project to the twelve UK regions, as well as developing region-based and region-relevant alternative data collection processes. Please contact Liz McDonnell for further information about this study.

Feminist and Queer perspectives on Brexit

Poject team: Dr Moira Dustin, Professor Nuno Ferreira and Professor Susan Millns

On 23 June 2016 the people of the United Kingdom voted in a referendum narrowly in favour of leaving the European Union. This historic decision, which will end the UK’s more than four-decade long membership of the EU in 2019, has important consequences for all European citizens; consequences that will be felt far into the future. Some citizens will meet the challenges that lie ahead with resilience and will take full advantage of the opportunities that a return of national sovereignty and a new form of politics promise. Other citizens may be less fortunate and may see the rights and protections offered by the EU starkly withdrawn, leaving them more vulnerable and with diminished horizons and fewer prospects than previously.

The Feminist and Queer Perspectives on Brexit Project examines the opportunities and challenges, the rights and wrongs, and the prospects and risks of the Brexit debate from a particular perspective – that of gender and sexuality. While much is being written about Brexit from legal, political, social and economic perspectives, there has as yet been relatively little debate about Brexit from a gendered and queer point of view and little analysis of the effects of Brexit on women and gender/sexual minorities who have historically been more marginalised and whose voices have tended to be less audible in political debates – both nationally and at the European level.  This project will in essence explore how Brexit might change the equality, human rights and social justice landscape, but from the viewpoint of women and gender/sexual minorities. We envisage that Brexit will impact upon women and gender/sexual minorities in a variety of ways and will potentially present particular challenges for these groups.

This project will examine a number of core themes and poses fundamental research questions around the barely recognised gendered and queer dimensions of Brexit, exploring the risks and opportunities for women and queer communities in the UK and in Europe. This project will thus fill a crucial and significant gap in the current literature and debate, by offering a multidisciplinary, policy-oriented and intersectional analysis of Brexit from a gendered and queer perspective. It will include contributions from authors at UK and European institutions, including both scholars with an international reputation and brilliant young academics. In this way, the project reflects the variety of opinion, new thinking and unpublished research on the subject matter.

Key outcomes include an edited book and a journal special issue to be published in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Contributors to these publications will gather at a workshop at the University of Sussex on 17 of November 2017 to discuss their proposed contributions. Some of the contributors have already started considering some relevant aspects through the publication of short pieces online, such as What does Brexit mean for Women? and Queering Brexit. Further updates will be added to this page as the project progresses.

Sailing in Unchartered Waters: Responses to Brexit in Germany, France, Poland and Ireland

Project team: Prof Paul Taggart (Co-I), LPS; Dr Kai Oppermann, Dr Sue Collard, Dr Adrian Treacher, Prof Aleks Szczerbiak (Co-Is), LPS

This project is a study of the responses to the Brexit process in three key EU member states: France, Germany and Poland. The study will examine the response of elite and effects on domestic politics in these states as the negotiations over Brexit unfold. 

While the British government struggles to find the best path to Brexit, the position of other countries in the EU will be key to determining the fate of whatever path is chosen. Having an exclusive focus on the negotiations in Brussels between the UK government and the Commission risks missing important pressures that are playing behind the scenes. Researchers at the Sussex European Institute conducted studies of elites in four states during the summer of 2017 to try to gauge the responses to the first phase of Brexit. The focus was on elites, on parliamentarians, commentators and think tanks as we sought to chart how Brexit was being received.  Based on a series of interviews and discussions in Berlin, Paris, Warsaw, London and Dublin, as well documentary sources, it is clear that during the first phase of Brexit there has been a strong and shared emphasis on EU unity among the EU27.  This research paper reports initial findings.

Politics of Brexit

Project team: Professor Paul Taggart, Dr Kai Opperman, Dr Neil Dooley, Dr Sue Collard, Dr Adrian Treacher, Francis McGowan, Professor Aleks Szczerbiak

This on-going research project charts the on-going politics of Brexit. This builds on SEI's policy expertise in key sectors, in its track record of research on the politics of referendums and on its focus on the domestic politics of European integration. The project focuses both the British politics of Brexit and on the European politics of the process. The project has run a series of workshops and has funding from the ESRC and the University of Sussex.