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‘We are all children of the Commonwealth’: political myth, metaphor and the transnational commonwealth ‘family of nations’ in Brexit discourse

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Political myths contribute to effective political communication with their ability to render a social group’s world and experiences more coherent by providing stories or narratives that explain where they came from, how they came to be in their present condition, and what their future holds. One such contemporary political myth, identified as Global Britain and triggered by the sense of crisis surrounding Brexit, has been vigorously promoted by English conservative politicians and public intellectuals in an effort to alter perceptions about what the UK’s proper place, roles and identity should be in the international system. Global Britain’s advocates view Brexit as an opportunity to reclaim Britain’s internationalist credentials by renewing old relationships with people’s and societies in its former empire. Among many rhetorical tools used in the articulation of Global Britain is a “Commonwealth as Family” conceptual metaphor which has been deployed to contribute content to the political myth and force behind its main objective – persuading the British public that they and their country will be better off out in the world among their closest ‘kith and kin’ rather than tied down in what they view as an inefficient, undemocratic and sclerotic European Union.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Politics
Pages (from-to)326-348
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Brexit, Conceptual metaphor, Global Britain, Political myth, Transnational identity, UK-Commonwealth relations

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