In her early research with Britons living in Spain, Karen O’Reilly drew attention to the prevalence of a ‘Bad Britain discourse’ in the way they explained their decision to leave the UK and settle in Spain. Her key point was to highlight what this revealed about how these Britons understood themselves, particularly how they understood Britishness.
Fast forward to Brexit and ‘Bad Britain’ takes on a renewed significance for Britons living in the EU27. Indeed, this is a common trope in how those we have been speaking to for the Brexit Brits Abroad project account for Brexit and describe their reactions to it. Michaela talks with Dr Katie Higgins about how we can understand the ‘Bad Britain discourse’ emerging through these responses. Discussing the findings of Katie’s survey with British citizens living in the EU27, and her recently published articleon this topic, she explains what the embarrassment, shame and loss that characterise many of the responses might tell us about how they understand Britain, Britishness and belonging. As she highlights, these responses are far more nuanced and complicated that we might assume on first glance.