Citizens Apart? Representing post-Brexit youth politics in the UK media

Jihyun Lee, Suzanne E. Beech, Sara McDowell, Mark Holton

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Early online date25 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished online - 25 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2023 The Authors. The Geographical Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).


  • Brexit
  • liminality
  • political participation
  • UK
  • young people


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