UK Identifications of Queer Europe: Referendum, Song Contest and Abject Citizenship

Authors: Pullen

Conference: Popular Culture Conference

Dates: 12-15 April 2017


Considering both the representation of the European Union and that of the Eurovision Song Contest, this paper argues that the mainstream British public identifies Europe as a queer site of contention, which potentially influenced the outcome of the referendum on European Union membership on June 23rd 2016. Through the United Kingdom marginally voting to leave the European Union, this paper explores discourse in television news and the press, making links to the notion of Europe as queer, and as a challenge to British values.

Focussing not only on queer theory, but also the notion of carnivalesque displaced abjection, this paper frames the mainstream discursive construction of the European Union as a seemingly queer cultural and legislative regulatory body, and the Eurovision Song Contest as a platform for queer identity. Did some dissenting citizens fear advancing LGBT rights, and the presence of ‘other’ EU citizens and refugee immigrants in the UK, as eroding their sense of British culture and security? Specifically looking at responses to Europe post the Referendum, evident in ‘The Daily Mail’, ‘The Express’, ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The New European’, a complex site of political struggle is revealed. This paper not only frames the discourse of the 48% that voted to remain in the European Union, in contrast to the 52% that voted to leave, but also that the political ideals and consequences of nationalism, isolation, punitive action and self harm, challenges and attempts to limit previously established notions of mobility, equality, inclusivity and shared community.

Source: Manual