BrExpats transcripts: France and Spain case studies 2017-19


This data collection includes transcripts of interviews conducted as part of the research project BrExpats: freedom of movement, citizenship and Brexit in the lives of Britons living in the European Union. These transcripts report verbatim on in-depth interviews, directed conversations and group discussions conducted as part of case studies conducted in France and Spain. These case studies were designed to respond to the research question: How will Brexit be experienced by Britons resident in EU member states, across a range of national and local settings; how will they re-evaluate their lives and citizenship, re- negotiate their identities, (re)position themselves in relation to shifting political realities of Europe, navigate and manage the changing structural conditions that shape the possibilities for their continued residence and/or repatriations?What are the implications of Brexit for Britain's estimated 2 million citizens (Home Office 2016) resident in other European member states? Will this signal a rise in return migration and with what consequences for welfare and healthcare in the UK? If they stay put, what challenges will Brexit and its impact on Britain's expatiates present for local migration governance and regulation in EU destinations, and for support services for Britons abroad? Finally, what are the consequences for how the British in Europe experience and understand their migration, their everyday lives, citizenship and identities? BrExpats places such concerns at the heart of its enquiries, examining what Brexit - as it unfolds - entails for Britons resident, part- or full-time, in those EU countries hosting the large numbers of Britons. It is organised around three inter-related research questions: (a) What will be the consequences of Brexit for the political rights, social and financial entitlements and citizenship of such populations; how will the consequences be understood, communicated, managed and mediated by institutional actors in Britain and Europe as they unfold? (b) How is Brexit experienced by Britons resident in Europe, across a range of national and local settings; in what ways will this cause them they re-evaluate their lives and citizenship, re-negotiate their identities, (re)position themselves in relation to shifting political realities of Europe, navigate and manage the changing structural conditions that shape the possibilities for their continued residence and/or repatriations? (c) When and in what ways do these populations feature within the Brexit negotiations, and how are their experiences in turn shaped by the ways they are represented in policy, media and decision-making? To respond to these questions, BrExpats will foreground a sociological understanding of Brexit and its impacts on Britons resident in Europe, building on and contributing to three fields of social scientific knowledge at their intersections: (1) European citizenship and identities; (2) migration and migrant lives; and (3) British migration. It is designed to capture the ongoing interaction between the institutions, laws, policies, discourses and norms that frame Brexit as a process, and the activities and actions of these Britons. It synthesises past research by the PI and Senior Research Fellow (O'Reilly) on British populations in Europe (see Benson 2011, O'Reilly 2000), employing a project team including consultants from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and a dedicated research assistant, to developing new empirical research combining (a) expert interviews with institutional actors in Britain, the European Commission, and European Member States with responsibilities for these British population; (b) in-depth case studies in France and Spain-where the largest number of Britons reside-paired with longitudinal analysis and supplemented with citizens' panels comprised of Britons resident in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece and Cyprus, countries hosting the largest populations of Britons after France and Spain (Dennison and Pardijs 2016); and (c) interpretive analysis of texts, documents, discourse, media and policy debates, and decision making. Academic outputs will include 2 conference papers and 4 journal articles. The project is designed around an continuous commitment to engagement activity and communicating research outcomes to practitioners, civil society organisations and policy makers. Dissemination activities include (a) a series of podcasts; (b) key trends reports; (c) a research brief; (d) policy roundtable; (e) articles in English language media in France and Spain, Migration Information Source, the Conversation and Open Democracy; (f) regularly maintained website and bespoke social media strategy; (h) pop-up exhibition and catalogue; & (i) a co-authored book, written to appeal to a broad audience.

The research adopted a qualitative and longitudinal approach. Conducted between 2017 and 2019, the research was able to evaluate the impact of Brexit in real time. It was designed to start from sites of previous research conducted by Dr Michaela Benson [PI] and Professor Karen O’Reilly [SRF] and to extend from these in order to develop demographic diversity in the sample [notably in terms of age and employment status]. The data collection describes in rich detail how UK nationals living in France and Spain perceived, interpreted, and acted in response to Brexit. As such, the topic guide was designed in order to provide opportunities for participants to reflect on how Brexit intervened in their imaginings of their future lives and mobilities in the context of changing political and legal conditions; how their perceptions and actions interplay with the renegotiation of identities and evaluations of citizenship and residence; the strategies they consider to mitigate the impact of Brexit and ongoing political transformations in Europe on their everyday lives (e.g. Return migration, residence permits, taking citizenship of country of residence); and to critically evaluate the significance of European citizenship and Europeanization. This data deposited here was collected through in-depth interviews, directed conversations and groups discussions. The sampling procedure was purposive, designed to capture the demographic diversity of UK nationals living in these locations.

Metadata Access
Creator Benson, M, Goldsmiths, University of London
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2020
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Michaela Benson, Goldsmiths, University of London; The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Text
Discipline Social Sciences
Spatial Coverage France; Spain