What does Brexit mean for British citizens living in the EU27? Talking Brexit with the British in France

Benson, Michaela. 2017. What does Brexit mean for British citizens living in the EU27? Talking Brexit with the British in France. Project Report. Goldsmiths, University of London, London. [Report]

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Abstract or Description

In this first research report from the BrExpats research project, Dr Michaela Benson (Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths) draws out the initial themes from her conversations with Britons living in rural France about what Brexit means for the British living in the EU27. The research on which the report is based was carried out in the Lot, Southwest France, in summer 2017.

• Brexit elicits complex emotions from the British migrants who have made this corner of rural France their home.
• Even though withdrawal from the European Union has not yet taken place, it is having a tangible impact on the lives of some of these migrants. Concerns include, but are not limited to, their continued right to live, work and own property in France, the value of their pensions, and access to healthcare and education.
• Particularly notable are the high levels of uncertainty, anxiety and anger among many of those taking part in the research.
• It was also apparent that such feelings were accompanied by the sense of having been neglected and overlooked by the British government, and in recognizing this some of them had started to question their political allegiances back in the United Kingdom.
• The outcome of the referendum has caused them to question what it means to them to be European and how they feel about being British.
• It has also raised questions about where they feel they belong and at home. Brexit was a transformative moment in the way they thought about their relationship to Britain.
• Even in the absence of knowledge of what Brexit will mean for their lives, those taking part in the research were actively evaluating and acting on their options for the future. Such options included applying for dual nationality or residence permits, moving back to the United Kingdom but also, holding tight, waiting to see what the outcome of the negotiations will be.

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Report (Project Report)

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Additional Information:

The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative (Grant Number ES/R000875/1). It is led by Dr Michaela Benson, Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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July 2017

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Date Deposited:

01 Nov 2019 13:01

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:19



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