Phil Hubbard
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The Kent variant
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This brief afterword considers the conjunction of the ‘migrant crisis’, Brexit negotiations and COVID-19 at the Kent coast. Noting that COVID-19 ushered in new forms of exclusionary nationalism and populism, this chapter suggests that the events of the winter of 2020–21 further positioned the Kent coast as a bulwark against threats to the ‘island-nation’. However, it notes that some of the initial explanations for the emergence of the alpha (Kent) COVID-19 variant, such as the influence of refugees, were misplaced, and that the fast transmission of the new variant is best understood in relation to the socially divided nature of the Kent coast.

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Identity and belonging at the edge of England


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