DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12571 ISSN: 0016-7398

Citizens apart? Representing post‐Brexit youth politics in the UK media

Jihyun Lee, Suzanne Beech, Sara McDowell, Mark Holton
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geography, Planning and Development


In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU). This outcome was not only unexpected but also had clear geographical and age‐bound divisions. While people over the age of 65 tended to vote to leave, younger voters were more likely to vote to remain a part of the EU. Reflecting on 7 years of journalism, this paper explores the ways in which young people have been represented by the news media with regards to the issue of Brexit. It analyses a database of 700 news media articles published from 2016 to 2022 across the UK, equating to 100 articles per calendar year and ranging from regional sources to those with an international reach. The paper showcases how young people occupy liminal spaces within the news media through an analysis of the language used to describe their political participation, and a focus on their role within political activism. As it is this media that dominates hegemonic narratives within traditional political spheres, the retelling and representation of young people's engagement serves, we argue, to reinforce their liminality as citizens apart.

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