Brexit Geographies: Spatial Imaginaries and Relational Territorialities on the Island of Ireland

Cormac Walsh


The pending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union has far-reaching consequences for the political geography of the island of Ireland. The current territorial settlement founded on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was made possible by the common membership of Ireland and the UK of the European Union. The logic of the Good Friday Agreement replaced competing territorial claims with a settlement whereby the territoriality of Northern Ireland has shifted from that of a bounded container space within the UK to a relational space, dependent on North- South-and Ireland-UK relations within the broader European context. Brexit continues to represent a moment of critical transformation with as yet very uncertain outcomes. This paper explores the potential for a nuanced understanding of the ‘island of Ireland’ and Irish border region pre- and post-Brexit, as liminal ‘soft spaces’; spaces of possibility located outside the formal spheres of nation-state territoriality, but nevertheless very much located within the shadow of territory.


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