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Migration dissensus among tweeters at #BrexitDay

Piotr Teodorowski ()
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Piotr Teodorowski: University of Liverpool

Studia z Polityki Publicznej / Public Policy Studies, 2020, vol. 7, issue 4, 22

Abstract: Liberal states simultaneously pursue policies of encouraging and controlling (un)desired immigration. Forces of representative democracy, nationhood, constitutionalism, and capitalism - each call for a distinct migration strategy. Previous research focusing on attitudes towards migration used quantitative methods examining values and perceptions that influence people's opinions. Still, it did not explore the diversity and complexity of sentiments. This paper aims to provide a more nuanced perspective based on tweets on and around the last day of the British membership in the European Union (31 January 2020). Data were collected using NCapture - a web-browser extension that downloaded tweets with hashtags #Brexit, #BrexitDay, and #BrexitEve, and imported them directly to NVivo. Seven batches of tweets were captured on 30-31 January and 1, 7-10 February; extracting 250,095 published between 23 January and 10 February. All retweets, duplicates, non-English tweets, and spam were removed, leaving 888 tweets for the analysis. The dataset was coded twice, assigning sentiments towards Brexit as positive (n = 203), negative (n = 586), or neutral (n = 99), and using inductive thematic analysis. The findings showed the division of discourse on migration was more complicated than merely in favor and against immigration. Interestingly, they also exhibited the shift in the British debate from benefits and drawbacks of immigration to the reciprocity of migration policies in the future relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Keywords: Brexit; migration; public opinion; UK; Twitter (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F22 J60 O15 Z10 Z18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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