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Northern Ireland and Brexit: Three effects on 'the border in the mind'

Gormley-Heenan, Cathy and Aughey, Arthur (2017) Northern Ireland and Brexit: Three effects on 'the border in the mind'. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, n/a . pp. 1-15. [Journal article]

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URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1369148117711060

DOI: 10.1177/1369148117711060


For those who spoke on behalf of leave voters, the result on 23 June 2016 meant the people of the United Kingdom taking back ‘control’ or getting their ‘own country back’. However, two parts of the UK did not vote leave: Scotland and Northern Ireland. Here the significant counterpoint to ‘taking back control is ‘waking up in a different country’ and this sentiment has unique political gravity. Its unique gravity involves two distinct but intimately related matters. The first concerns the politics of identity. The vote was mainly, if not entirely, along nationalist/unionist lines, confirming an old division: unionists were staking a ‘British’ identity by voting leave, and nationalists an Irish one by voting remain. The second concerns borders. The Good Friday/Belfast Agreement of 1998 meant taking the border out of Irish politics. Brexit means the border between the EU and the UK running across the island as a sovereign ‘frontier’. Though this second matter is discussed mainly in terms of the implications for free movement of people and goods, we argue that it is freighted with meanings of identity. Brexit involves a ‘border in the mind’, those shifts in self-understanding, individually and collectively, attendant upon the referendum. This article examines this ‘border in the mind’ according to its effects on identity, politics and the constitution and their implications for political stability in Northern Ireland.

Item Type:Journal article
Keywords:Brexit; Northern Ireland; peace process; identity; constitution
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Criminology, Politics and Social Policy
Faculty of Social Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute for Research in Social Sciences > Politics & International Studies
Institute for Research in Social Sciences
ID Code:37730
Deposited By: Wendy Aiken (Admin)
Deposited On:09 May 2017 15:21
Last Modified:17 Oct 2017 16:29

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