“Brexit is the Graveyard of Post-Industrial Britain”: Ethnography as Eulogy for East London and England

By Gillian Evans


This paper positions the Brexit vote relative to a long-standing history of urban post-industrial alienation and the more recent creation of a moral crisis about migration. The paper explains how this unique combination of historical factors was sufficient to destabilise the authority of the British government in the European Union Referendum of 2016, and throw it off centre. It draws on ethnographic research conducted recently in East London, in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham, to reveal the everyday struggles of lives in the post-industrial, post-colonial urban neighbourhoods of London.
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