Edited by Angela Smith and Michael Higgins
[Journal of Language and Politics 19:1] 2020
► pp. 89–106
Political masculinities and Brexit
Men of war
This article examines the discourses of masculinity to pervade debates on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The article outlines an association between excessive forms of masculinity and popular cultural discourses around conflict and war, constructing and reproducing a popular lexicon on the British experience of World War II in ways that are widely interpreted as symptomatic of a coarsening of political discussion. However, the article also emphasises the performative quality of these masculine discourses in line with the personalisation of politics, and stresses the scope for contestation and ridicule. The article thereby identifies the articulation of a performative masculinity with a nation-based politics of the right. While disputable and occasionally subject to derision, this produces a gendered component in any antagonistic turn in contemporary political culture.