Brexit as Britain in Decline and its Crises (Revisited)

Julie A MacLeavy*, Martin Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

In this paper we revisit Gamble’s book ‘Britain in Decline’ and in doing so also revisit the geographies of state crisis. Drawing on the substantial archives of state theory, we explore how Brexit emerged as a moment of crisis following the relative decline of the economy and the reshaping of the welfare state. Discussions of Brexit and the uneven geographies of advanced capitalism inevitably raise questions about the central tension between the free market and strong state within both political discourse and political activity. In considering these, we extend Gamble’s writing on the social, economic and political struggles within the Thatcherite project and explore the role of uneven development in perpetuating and transforming the contradictions of advanced capitalism. This enables a more geographical reading of contradictions inside the state-territory, which augments Gamble’s understanding of the external challenges to Britain’s post-war settlement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Brexit
  • Contradictions of capitalism
  • Crisis
  • Neoliberalism
  • Thatcherism
  • Uneven development

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