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Brexit, the press and the territorial constitution

Davies, Gregory and Wincott, Daniel 2020. Brexit, the press and the territorial constitution. Social and Legal Studies 10.1177/0964663920921922

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Abstract

Brexit has unveiled previously hidden aspects of UK society, law and politics. It provides a valuable opportunity to investigate the social reception of law, and in particular the mediation of the law and constitution in the press. The distinctive constitutional arrangements and histories of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England have given rise to different territorial interpretations of the UK state. These asymmetries have parallels in the UK’s territorial media landscape, yet we have little understanding of how this landscape contributes to constitutional discourses. This paper offers quantitative content and thematic analysis of UK-wide media coverage of major court judgments which have served as critical junctures in the Brexit process. The analysis reveals striking territorial variation in the volume and substance of coverage. Here, the media appears to reinforce divergent understandings of the constitution: while English reporting chimed with a more unitary account of the constitution, reporting elsewhere was more consistent with a vision of the UK as union-state. In light of these findings, we argue that media analysis can make a valuable contribution to our understanding of the law and the constitution.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Law
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0964-6639
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 May 2020
Date of Acceptance: 5 April 2020
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2020 20:03
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/131525

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