In Quest for Discursive Legitimation of Ongoing Policy Processes : Constructing Brexit as a Success Story


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Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source JCMS-Journal of Common Market Studies
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Keywords legitimation; policy process; temporal regime; discourse; Brexit
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Description The article brings together insights from the literatures on policy process, policy legitimation and legitimacy discourse to shed new light on the temporal structure of discursive legitimation of policy processes. It argues that in order to satisfy complex demands on their legitimacy, ongoing policy processes are legitimated not only by referring to the current state of affairs (status quo legitimation), but also by legitimating the future (status ad quem legitimation) and delegitimating the past (status quo ante delegitimation). Presenting an original typology of three distinct temporal regimes of policy process legitimation, this inquiry explores its validity on the empirical case of Brexit. Combining qualitative content analysis and the discourse-historical approach (DHA) to discourse studies, the article elucidates how exactly Brexit was officially legitimated within the three temporal regimes by the UK Conservative government in 2021 – that is, during the first year of ‘full’ Brexit.
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