King's College London

Research portal

Brexit as heredity redux: Imperialism, biomedicine and the NHS in Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Des Fitzgerald, Amy Nicole Hinterberger, John Christopher Narayan, Ros Williams

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1161-1178
Number of pages18
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number6
Accepted/In press18 Feb 2020
Published1 Nov 2020


  • Brexit as Heredity Redux ACCEPTED

    Brexit_as_Heredity_Redux_ACCEPTED.docx, 71.3 KB, application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document

    Uploaded date:20 Feb 2020

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

  • Brexit as Heredity Redux

    Brexit_as_Heredity_Redux.pdf, 121 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:07 May 2020

King's Authors


What is the relationship between Brexit and biomedicine? Here we investigate the Vote Leave official campaign slogan ‘We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead’ in order to shed new light on the nationalist stakes of Brexit. We argue that the Brexit referendum campaign must be situated within biomedical policy and practice in Britain. We propose a re-thinking of Brexit through a cultural politics of heredity to capture how biomedicine is structured around genetic understandings of ancestry and health, along with the forms of racial inheritance that structure the state and its welfare system. We explore this in three domains: the NHS and health tourism, data sharing policies between the NHS and the Home Office, and the NHS as an imperially resourced public service. Looking beyond the Brexit referendum campaign, we argue for renewed sociological attention to the relationships between racism, biology, health and inheritance in British society.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454