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Dr Joshua Blamire

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Amory 305

I am currently working on the ESRC-funded project “Identity, Belonging and the Role of the Media in Brexit Britain” with Dr Katharine Tyler (PI), Dr Cathrine Degnen at Newcastle University, and Professor Susan Banducci, Dr Travis Coan, Professor Dan Stevens and Dr Laszlo Horvath at the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter.

The project will explore ethnographically the attitudes, beliefs and values of individuals from different social backgrounds (in terms of ethnicity, migration status, nationality, class, gender, religion and generation) and geographical locations regarding questions of immigration, national identity and European belonging in the face of Britain’s exit from the EU, and how this is reflected in identity formations. Because the media has become inseparable from these political and social processes we will ask: What role have media narratives about Brexit played in these processes: to what extent are they reflected in everyday lives: and in turn, to what extent are the narratives that are uncovered in the everyday mirrored in the media? To address these questions we will develop innovative research strategies that integrate in-depth ethnographic fieldwork conducted across different areas of England with national and local media content analysis. I will be conducting ethnographic fieldwork across two research sites in the East Midlands.

Research interests

My background is in Human Geography and my research sits at the intersection of socio-cultural, economic, political and urban geographies. My PhD, entitled “The Politics of Anti-Austerity in Liverpool: A More-than-Cuts Approach”, examined anti-austerity activism and emerging alternatives to austerity from the political left. Focusing on Liverpool – a city with a so-called radical ‘political imaginary’ – the research explored how austerity is being politicised, managed and contested by a wide range of societal actors, including grassroots ‘anti-austerity’ campaigns, third sector organisations and the city council. The research addressed two interrelated phenomena: 1) what is the nature and form of contemporary left urban politics; and 2) how can we understand identity formation in relation to contemporary political developments in Britain.

The emphasis in my work is on how political identities are never fixed but are instead shaped through struggle, and how these identities are attentive to everyday knowledges, practices and discourses. A key contention of the research is that an ostensibly macroeconomic concept – austerity – must instead be situated within certain place-specific contexts in order to better grasp how it is understood, negotiated and contested by a wide range of societal actors, and to examine how effectively new political identities are being produced in relation to it.

More generally, I am interested in identity formation, social movements and political transformation, alternatives to neoliberalism, place-based politics and the ongoing dynamics and spatialities of political contestation in Britain. I am committed to ethnographic methodologies and participatory research.


I joined the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology in September 2018 to work as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the ESRC-funded project “Identity, Belonging and the Role of the Media in Brexit Britain”. My background is in Human Geography and, prior to joining the University of Exeter, I completed both my MA – in the Geographies of Globalisation & Development (Research Methodology) – and my PhD at the University of Liverpool. The PhD, entitled “The Politics of Anti-Austerity in Liverpool: A More-than-Cuts Approach”, was submitted in October 2017 after which I took up the post of Lecturer in Human Geography in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Liverpool Hope University before moving to Exeter.

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