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

6 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


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
Pages (from-to)444-452
Number of pages9
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date2 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Political Quarterly Publishing Co (PQPC).


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


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