A new normal? Some collective reflections 21.09.16.

Last week we held the second meeting of contributors to this blog. Here is a brief summary of our discussion:

We were a smaller group than at our last meeting and we began by talking about how we were not meeting with the same sense of urgency this time. We reflected on how the intensity of the anger of the post-referendum period seems to have dissipated so that Brexit seems like the ‘new normal’. We spoke briefly about the party politics of Brexit and shared a sense of foreboding that the left will turn to a populist anti-migration position. And when we talked about the misrepresentation of Brexit as a ‘white working class vote’, the feelings of anger returned. We returned to the theme of the inadequacy of the ‘white working class’ category as we were talking about how the events resonate differently within communities that do not fit these terms. We discussed the bleakness of the situation and the sense that we are anticipating more crises – fears about the elections in other European countries – although we also noted that our relationship to these events has fundamentally changed with Britain becoming an ‘outsider’ to Europe – and that there is also a shift because we are now anticipating these events. Brexit was an unexpected rupture (despite being a long time coming) that was perhaps uniquely shocking. We talked about the difficulty and need to think psychosocially when we are reflecting on our own responses (i.e. not to reduce the sense of pessimism and fear to an ‘individual’ pathology) but to situate it. We talked about anticipating the next shock and trying to create a space to respond collectively – to think and write together in response to this (and the paradox of planning for this) – potentially the US elections.

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