The use of the political categories of Brexiter and Remainer in online comments about the EU referendum

Meredith, JM and Richardson, E 2019, 'The use of the political categories of Brexiter and Remainer in online comments about the EU referendum' , Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 29 (1) , pp. 43-55.

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (633kB) | Preview
[img] Microsoft Word - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (63kB)


In June 2016, the UK held a referendum on EU membership; 52% of those who voted, voted to leave, and 48% voted to remain. During the referendum campaign two identities emerged: ‘Brexiter’ and ‘Remainer’, which remained salient post-referendum. This study explores how the categories of Brexiter and Remainer were deployed by posters online. Data comprises comment threads collected from four online newspapers both during the campaign and after the vote, which focus on the Brexit campaign promise: ‘We send £350m a week to the EU. Let’s fund our NHS instead’. We draw on membership categorisation analysis and discursive psychology to analyse when categories were made salient and what responses to the invocation of categories were. Analysis revealed that posters explicitly categorise the outgroup and in doing so implicitly define their group. Posters resisted other political identities when attributed to them in relation to the referendum. The analysis shows how Brexiter and Remainer are new, albeit contested, political categories and identities in their own right, with other political identities resisted when used. The paper highlights implications for the political system in the UK and for social divisions within UK society.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1052-9284
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Dr Joanne Meredith
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2018 14:06
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 23:35

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year