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  • Randal Tame

Could this ugly violence be the result of years of Brexit rhetoric?

There is no inherent antipathy or antagonism between people who are different or seen as belonging to different groups (see Reicher, 2004).

What it takes to create the conditions of exclusion, discrimination and violence we see in this video is a significant amount of rhetorical work. Since before the Brexit referendum in 2016 the rhetoric of us versus them, from “Eurosceptics” such as Farage and Johnson and others has defined Britishness as exclusive to those of British descent.

To begin to address this hatred what is needed from leaders is the rhetoric of solidarity that defines communities as inclusive of all who wish to commit to national life.

For a brilliant discussion of the rhetoric of hate and solidarity in motivating group behaviour see the article by Reicher, Hopkins, Levine & Rath (2005). Entrepreneurs of hate and entrepreneurs of solidarity: Social identity as a basis for mass communication. International review of the Red Cross, 87(860), 621-637.

You can download this article here:

entrepreneurs of hate
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Reicher, S.D. (2004) The context of social psychology: domination, resistance and change. Political Psychology, 25, 40-62.

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