The class politics of prejudice: Brexit and the land of no-hope and glory

Mckenzie, Lisa (2017) The class politics of prejudice: Brexit and the land of no-hope and glory. The British Journal of Sociology, 68 (Sup 1) . S265-S280. ISSN 0007-1315 [Article] (doi:10.1111/1468-4446.12329)

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (520kB) | Preview


The debates relating to social class and whether it is still a useful concept in describing a lived reality of the British population has never been far away from media, political and academic dispute. Thatcher's Britain throughout the 1980s attempted to dilute class meaning with what was called 'a home owning democracy' and thus end class collective politics through easily available credit for the working class while simultaneously attacking trade union organization, recruitment and political action. During the late 1990s and into the noughties a 'New Labour' administration attempted to exacerbate the end of class politics through an agenda of a 'cultural distinction' to class identity. Class struggle, class politics and class identity is embedded deep within the cultural norms practices, and history of British democracy. Consequently it is difficult if not impossible to prise class inequality in the UK away from and out of national, local and personal politics (Savage et al. 2015: 393-8). This paper focuses upon the sense that class politics, and cultural class distinction, within the UK had the biggest influence in determining a working-class 'Leave Vote' in the 2016 referendum within the UK. This paper explores accounts and narratives from working-class 'leave' voters though an ethnographic study of the political and social viewpoints of working-class communities of East London, and of ex-mining towns of Nottinghamshire. Framing into fuller context the anger and apathy of being 'left out', arguing that being 'left out' has been part of working-class political narratives for over 30 years. Going beyond frustration and apathy, a significant part of the narrative of working people was of 'not existing', suggesting certain important linkages with ongoing debates about new ways of conceptualizing class differences and class structures. [Abstract copyright: © London School of Economics and Political Science 2017.]

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
Item ID: 22981
Notes on copyright: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:Mckenzie, L. (2017), The class politics of prejudice: Brexit and the land of no-hope and glory. The British Journal of Sociology, 68: S265–S280. doi:10.1111/1468-4446.12329, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Jisc Publications Router
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 14:19
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.