“Brace yourselves Brexit is coming”: A Critical Analysis of the Mergence of Political Discourse and Popular Culture in the Brexit Campaign

Thompson, Megan Celina
Piatti-Farnell, Lorna
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Master of Communication Studies
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Auckland University of Technology

The Brexit referendum in June 2016 to decide whether Britain would remain in the European Union (EU) was the site of extensive political campaigns and social media focus. This thesis is concerned with critically investigating how popular culture and political discourse merged and intersected in the Brexit campaigns. To execute this investigation, the following research questions were developed. The primary research question: “What is the relationship between political discourse, entertainment, and popular culture in the construction of the Brexit campaign?” and secondary research question “How was the official referendum discourse of the Brexit campaign reflected in the popular culture narrative?” To assist in answering these questions, a data group of social media texts from prior to and post the Brexit result were selected from Yahoo News and Imgur respectively. The data was analysed in the context of interdisciplinary research across scholarship on political communication, popular culture, and participatory culture. It is posited that the social media content constructed a popular culture narrative of the events of the Brexit referendum. The popular culture narrative constructs Britain’s identity and character in regards to the events of Brexit, and interplayed with and reflected the referendum campaign discourse while communicating independent meaning from the official political messaging.

Brexit , Britain , The EU , Leave campaign , Remain campaign , Popular culture , Political discourse , Social media , Thematic analysis , Textual analysis , Europe , Political communication
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