Policy change and the failure of pro-European agency in the British Conservative Party: A post-structuralist analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Politics and Policy, 2022, 50, (3), pp. 598-621
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Under a post-structuralist lens, the policy change through which Britain left the European Union in January 2020 is not only about the success of the Euroskeptic policy position at the 2016 referendum, but also about the failure of pro-European agency in major British political parties like the Conservative and Unionist Party (CP). This article applies critical logics analysis—social, political, and fantasmatic—to deployments of pro-European agency within the CP across three historical periods: (i) a pre-Maastricht period, (ii) a Maastricht period, and (iii) a pre-referendum period. I outline reasons for which key conservative agents failed to restore meaning to a policy routine for upholding British membership of European institutions. In doing so, I aim to demonstrate the capacity of post-structuralist policy analysis to make insightful, rigorous, and useful contributions to political science and its important issue of policy change by way of comparison with more established models. Related Articles: English, Patrick, Maria T. Grasso, Barbara Buraczynska, Sotirios Karampampas, and Luke Temple. 2016. “Convergence on Crisis? Comparing Labour and Conservative Party Framing of the Economic Crisis in Britain, 2008–14.” Politics & Policy 44(3): 577–603. http://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12160. Hazakis, Konstantinos J. 2015. “The Political Economy of Economic Adjustment Programs in the Eurozone: A Detailed Policy Analysis.” Politics & Policy 43(6): 822–54. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12141. Temple, Luke, Maria T. Grasso, Barbara Buraczynska, Sotirios Karampampas, and Patrick English. 2016. “Neoliberal Narrative in Times of Economic Crisis: A Political Claims Analysis of the U.K. Press, 2007–14.” Politics & Policy 44(3): 553–76. https://doi.org/10.1111/polp.12161.
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