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GlobalBritain™: the discursive construction of Britain’s post-Brexit world role

Daddow, Oliver

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Oliver Daddow


Of the many dilemmas faced by Theresa May in negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, finding a workable narrative to explain Britain’s new world role post-Brexit proved one of the most intractable. She and her top government ministers alighted on the idea of “Global Britain”. Giving it the shorthand GlobalBritain™, the article interprets the vision using qualitative discourse analysis. It begins by positioning the article as a contribution to constructivist foreign policy analysis. Next, it explains the method used to select the relevant sources, develop the codebook and interpret the data. The third section outlines the policy architecture intended to make GlobalBritain™ practical reality. The final section demonstrates the rhetorical techniques through which GlobalBritain™ is framed as the story of Britain escaping a damaging period of confinement inside the EU “prison”. The central argument is that GlobalBritain™ puts a marked Eurosceptic twist on a long-standing UK grand strategy aimed at a global leadership role in which “Europe” has always played an ambiguous part. The conclusion critically reflects on the research we can now conduct to discover more about this foreign policy narrative in-the-making.


Daddow, O. (2019). GlobalBritain™: the discursive construction of Britain’s post-Brexit world role. Global Affairs, 5(1), 5-22.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2019
Online Publication Date Apr 2, 2019
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 3, 2020
Journal Global Affairs
Print ISSN 2334-0460
Electronic ISSN 2334-0479
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 1
Pages 5-22
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Received: 2018-12-27; Accepted: 2019-03-20; Published: 2019-04-02


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