Although Brexit has been considered an unexpected ‘incident’ by the majority of observers, this paper challenges this idea. It thus considers the recent discussion on ‘filter bubbles’ and ‘selective exposure on social media’ Spohr (2017) to document how an increasing consumption of news and information through specific web platforms has effects on the ideological polarization of public opinion. These thus explain the genesis of this particular event. It will be shown how these dynamics have been considered by the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 EU referendum in the UK. Exploiting echo chambers they were able to successfully crystallize a number of issues through a narrative that resonated with the British voters’ feelings transforming them into ‘issues’ that could be identified in a single concept: a populistic and creeping xenophobic fear discourse (Wodak 2015).
Dipartimento di Culture, Politica e Società - Università di Torino