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The Strategies of Ultranationalist Discourse: This Is England and Brexit

J. Rubén Valdés-Miyares
Published Online: 2018-05-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0006


A speech given by the skinhead Combo in the film This is England (2006) provides the ground for an analysis of far-right nationalism. This article uses Critical Discourse Analysis and the idea of the nation as a discursive construct to explain Combo’s strategies to gain dominance over his gang by means of rhetoric, body language, building up an ethos based on Christian and epic mythologies with ethnic connotations, drawing boundaries, and discrediting and excluding his opponents. These strategies are then compared to those of the UKIP leader Nigel Farage in his “Brexit victory” speech delivered in June 2016, which was based on a mystification of territorial boundaries, symbolic allusions to a defensive war, and a verbal construction of an ideally independent nation and a promising future. Thus, the article argues that analysis of a scene from the film set in the Thatcherite Britain of 1983 can still illuminate the articulation of later nationalist discourses.

Keywords : critical discourse analysis; English nationalism; discursive construction of nations; multimodal analysis; film studies; This is England; Brexit


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About the article

Received: 2017-07-24

Accepted: 2018-04-03

Published Online: 2018-05-17

Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 2, Issue 1, Pages 50–60, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2018-0006.

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© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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