Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Patrick Neveling: “Vote like humans”: Elections in a posthuman political economy

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

As I left Bournemouth train station this afternoon, a homeless man approached me and asked for some change. Shelters in Bournemouth and elsewhere in the United Kingdom charge money to rough sleepers on a per night basis. The going rate is currently four British pounds in Bournemouth, and it is certainly a common experience for commuters returning from Southampton and London to this southwestern English seaside town to be asked to for a contribution to those fees at the train station. In fact, the local council adds further pressure to an anyhow pressurized population of homeless in Bournemouth. As the current Tory government has cut several welfare packages, the number of homeless has risen dramatically across the United Kingdom in recent years.

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Michael Jennings: UK Election 2017 manifestos and international development: Common ground and clear water

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

With the election coming up today, I thought it would be interesting to look at the commitments to international development in the manifestos of the Labour PartyConservatives, and Liberal Democrats.

The day-to-day realities of election campaigns tend to soon undermine the carefully calibrated and plotted plans of campaign managers. So this election that was intended (by the Conservatives) to be the Brexit election has moved in new directions as the policies put forward in the manifestos came under scrutiny and attack.

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John Gledhill: It’s Corbyn’s critics who need the history lesson

This post is part of a feature on the 2017 UK elections, moderated and edited by Patrick Neveling (SOAS, University of London).

In his very carefully argued speech of 26 May 2017 on the relationship between contemporary terrorism and foreign policy, Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn observed: “Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.” Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians immediately accused him of bad timing and muddled and dangerous thinking. Some critics, exemplified by Conservative Security Minister Ben Wallace, argued that Corbyn needed a history lesson, since it was obvious that the roots of “Islamic” terrorism predated 9/11 and then US President George W. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan. “These people hate our values, not our foreign policy,” Wallace insisted in a radio interview that I listened to this morning.

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Sian Lazar: Learning to live with crisis: How Brexit brought Latin America home to me

The European Union is a free trade area that enables multinational corporations to take advantage of low tax regimes for their head offices and of low labor costs for their manufacturing, caller center, and human resources operations. It forces countries to pay off the debt owed to private banks at the cost of democracy, jobs, pensions, welfare benefits, and economic stability (let alone growth), enabling public subsidy of private risk. It blocks entry to migrants risking their lives to come and work in Europe, or to escape war and poverty in their countries of origin. Why would anyone support a vote for Britain to Remain?

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Douglas R. Holmes: No Exit: London, July 2016

I arrived in London on 10 July, a few weeks after the Brexit referendum. I was in Parliament the following day—the day Theresa May was named the new prime minister.

Reading about the situation is one thing; dealing with it ethnographically is another. I have no idea how to proceed, nor do I trust my initial observations. So this post with its provisional assertions should be read with circumspection.
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Polina Manolova: Brexit and the production of “illegal” EU migrants

Bulgarians on their way to the “West”

EU immigration was the primary source of contention in the debates surrounding the recent referendum about the United Kingdom’s EU membership. The “leave” campaign continuously bombarded the public with warnings about “uncontrollable hordes” of EU benefit seekers (for a discussion on the construction of migrant categories, see Apostolova 2016) planning to permanently settle for the “easy” life in the UK and take away the jobs of the locals. Likewise, the “remain” campaign promised to crack down on the number of immigrants and further restrict the rights of newcomers. In this way, both camps reinforced the perception that immigration from the EU, and in particular from eastern Europe, is a problem. Furthermore, in their effort to make the case for a “remain” scenario, academic voices tirelessly demonstrated the economic, cultural, and demographic benefits of EU migration. Such efforts, however well intended, still feed into an instrumentalist policy perspective that constructs migrants’ lives as only important in terms of their added value for the local economy.
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Katharina Bodirsky: The UK voted out: Some reflections on European “unity in diversity”

Against the predictions of the last polls, a narrow majority of the UK voters decided to leave the EU. Once again, the political crisis of Europe has deepened. And once again, it does not seem as if this deepening of the crisis will force a fundamental reorientation of the “European project.”

In the following, I take issue with a mainstream framing of the crisis as one engendered by an atavistic nationalism that haunts the cosmopolitan present of Europe, a framing that directs attention away from the class character of European state-making of the past decades. If the EU is not to disintegrate, however, the latter has to be challenged.
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Ines Hasselberg: Enduring Uncertainty: Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life

Enduring Uncertainty is a volume of the “Dislocations” series published by Berghahn Books. The immense dislocations and suffering caused by neoliberal globalization, the retreat of the welfare state in the last decades of the twentieth century, and the heightened military imperialism at the turn of the twenty-first century have raised urgent questions about the temporal and spatial dimensions of power. Through stimulating critical perspectives and new and cross-disciplinary frameworks, which reflect recent innovations in the social and human sciences, this series provides a forum for politically engaged, ethnographically informed, and theoretically incisive responses.
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