Brexit barbarization? The UK leaving the EU as de-civilizing trend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social scientists have begun to offer varied diagnoses of why Brexit has happened, and what its consequences have been and will likely be. This article does so by drawing upon Elias-inspired notions of longer-term de-civilizing processes, shorter-term de-civilizing spurts, and short-term de-civilizing offensives. Brexit is conceived of as involving a set of interlocking phenomena and tendencies which are de-civilizing in nature, and therefore de-cosmopolit(an)izing too. Diverse empirical phenomena in the UK are made sense of through the unifying conceptual apparatus of 'de-civilization', allowing analysis to start to relate them to each other systematically. The article also uses this sociological approach to look ahead tentatively to what the post-Brexit socio-political landscape may look like in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1440783320960525
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)59-76
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • Brexit
  • Elias
  • civilization
  • de-civilizing
  • civilizing
  • process

Cite this