Society for Psychological Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Britain’s political climate has been swirling since the Brexit vote of 2016 in which the majority of citizens – albeit by a small margin – voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. For members of historical organizations in York, United Kingdom who dedicate significant portions of their time and energy to local history, this decision has either signaled a break from their understood trajectories of history or, in some cases, an affirmation of what they believe to be the United Kingdom’s historically-backed traits of strength and independence. My interlocutors’ interpretations of British politics can serve to either reinforce their narratives and relationships with one another or cause bitter disagreement. Given this, I argue that their particular forms of morality are influenced by membership within historical organizations, in which they are surrounded by like-minded thinkers. Drawing on a year of ethnographic research among historical organizations in York, this paper investigates the ways in which membership in historical organizations and knowledge of local history influences my interlocutors’ positions on the political climate surrounding Brexit. It will also consider the ways in which moral positions which are shared by members of historical organizations color their understandings of current events. I will analyze differing opinions that historical organization members in York hold regarding the Brexit vote, paying particular attention to the much-discussed notion of justice and whether or not my interlocutors believe that the current legislation (as well as plans for future legislation) upholds this virtue.