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Perceptions, experiences, and consequences

This book explores citizens’ perceptions and experiences of security threats in contemporary Britain, drawing on perspectives from International Security Studies and Political Psychology. The empirical chapters are based on twenty focus groups across six British cities and a large sample survey conducted between April and September 2012. These data are used to investigate the extent to which diverse publics share government framings of certain issues as the most pressing security threats, to assess the origins of perceptions of specific security threats ranging from terrorism to environmental degradation, to investigate what makes some people feel more threatened by these issues than others, to examine the effects of threats on other areas of politics such as harbouring stereotypes of minorities or prioritising public spending on border control over health, and to evaluate the effectiveness of government messages about security threats and attempts to change citizens’ behaviour as part of the risk management cycle. The book demonstrates widespread heterogeneity in perceptions of issues as security threats and in their origins, with implications for the extent to which shared understandings of threats are an attainable goal. The concluding chapter summarises the findings and discusses their implications for government and public opinion in the future. While this study focuses on the British case, its combination of quantitative and qualitative methods seeks to make broader theoretical and methodological contributions to scholarship produced in Political Science, International Relations, Political Psychology, and Security Studies.

Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

four specific threats of terrorism, immigration, the economy, and environmental degradation at the global, national, community, and personal levels – and political attitudes and behaviours. While there are other reasons to understand the origins of perceptions of security threats, the issue becomes of less political import if these perceptions do not lead to the kinds of compromises in democratic

in Everyday security threats
Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

Britain today and the threat of international terrorism: Well obviously you know the biggest security threat is from all these illegal immigrants and immigrants that we've got in this country, I'm not going to say I'm racist , but I just wish they'd all go back home because they're ruining this country, they

in Everyday security threats
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Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

from terrorism in the wake of 9/11, it has been of single salient threats rather than security threats writ large (Davis and Silver, 2004 ; Huddy et al., 2002 ). It would also be fair to say that research into political psychology and political behaviour tends not to focus directly on how individuals articulate threats as a source for understanding, preferring to draw inferences about understanding from

in Everyday security threats
Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

Introduction As governments – particularly, though not exclusively in the global North – responded to what they commonly framed as a ‘new threat’ from terrorism after 9/11 (Croft and Moore, 2010 ; Thrall and Cramer, 2009 ), they felt compelled in turn to outline the security strategies that this shift and other perceived threats in the post-Cold War world

in Everyday security threats
Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

the London Metropolitan Police's ‘If you suspect it, report it’ campaign and the claim vis-à-vis counter-terrorism that ‘public vigilance, good sense and co-operation are just as important and essential components [as law enforcement and intelligence] of the UK's response’ (Jarvis and Lister, 2010 : 182). Elite perceptions of and responses to security threats such as the NSS

in Everyday security threats
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Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

citizens alike in contemporary political life. Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on 11 September 2001, ‘old’ political issues like health and education have been joined by ‘new’ issues framed as security threats such as crime, terrorism, and immigration (Clarke et al., 2009 ). While liberal democracies attempt to balance civil liberties and security in this new landscape, existing

in Everyday security threats
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Pathologising security through Lacanian desire
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

resulting quest for justice against enduring evil – otherwise we would simply pursue the criminals responsible and let the bureaucracy of the justice system process them. Our fantasy of destruction drives our hysterical crusade against the perpetrators because we are complicit and guilt-ridden. The drama of crusade against terrorism belies our desire for terrorism, for Baudrillard. Other scholars have

in Death and security
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Disaster recovery and the World Trade Center
Charlotte Heath-Kelly

see how the memorial has come to occupy its prominent position within the cultural and architectural mitigation of death. In the contemporary era, we see the construction of large memorials – even memorial and museum complexes – on the sites of terrorist attack. This, in itself, is a development. In previous eras of response to terrorism, sites of destruction were marked with simple plaques. For

in Death and security
Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

whether perceived threats to security – both in terms of perceptions of the breadth of security threats and perceptions of specific security threats such as terrorism – influence other political attitudes such as tolerance of outgroups; and to assess whether non-elite knowledge and views coincide with or diverge from what the NSS presents as the greatest threats to

in Everyday security threats