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.
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Why did Tony Blair take Britain to war with Iraq? Because, this book argues, he was following the core political beliefs and style—the Blair identity—manifest and consistent throughout his decade in power. Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, and finally Iraq were wars to which Blair was drawn due to his black-and-white framing of the world, his overwhelming confidence that he could shape events, and his tightly-held, presidential style of government. This new application of political psychology to the British prime ministership analyses every answer Blair gave to a foreign policy question in the House of Commons during his decade in power in order to develop a portrait of the prime minister as decision maker. Drawing upon original interviews with major political, diplomatic and military figures at the top of British politics, the book reconstructs Blair's wars, tracing his personal influence on British foreign policy and international politics during his tumultuous tenure.
Beneath the violence of the U.S. war in Iraq was a subterranean conflict between President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, rooted in their different beliefs and leadership styles. Bush was prepared to pay a high cost in American lives, treasure, and prestige to win. Rumsfeld favored turning the war over to the Iraqis, and was comfortable with the risk that Iraq would disintegrate into chaos. Only after Bush removed Rumsfeld in late 2006 did he bring U.S. strategy into line with his goals, sending additional troops to Iraq and committing to continued U.S. involvement. Bush abandoned Rumsfeld’s withdrawal approach, predicated upon the beliefs that “it's the Iraqis’ country,” and “we have to take our hand off the bicycle seat.” In Leaders in Conflict, Stephen Benedict Dyson shows that Bush and Rumsfeld thought about international politics, and about leadership, in divergent ways. The president embraced binary thinking, was visceral in his commitment to the war, and had a strong belief that the U.S. both could and should shape events in Iraq. The secretary saw the world as complex, and was skeptical of the extent of U.S. influence over events and of the moral imperative to stay involved. The book is based upon more than two dozen interviews with administration insiders, and appeals to those interested in the U.S. foreign policy, the U.S. presidency, leadership and wartime decision making.
new ones – gaps that we wish to identify and start to address in
A further lacuna in academic understanding of public
perceptions and experiences of everyday security threats exists as a
result of the absence of any serious engagement between the IR and
Security Studies literature on the one hand and that in PoliticalPsychology and Behaviour on the other
tyrant child will beat and kill them, and that from now on government will
be an open and avowed tyranny. People will discover that they have gone from
the frying pan of the vast and unreasonable liberty of democracy into the fire
of the harshest and bitterest of all slaveries.
Plato eventually turns to the question of the genealogy, the politicalpsychology and the political anthropology of the subject of tyranny. The
tyranny of the future – perhaps in fact the present tyranny suffered by the
citizens of contemporary republics like Ireland – is not necessarily the
Another aspect is a lack of understanding of the politicalpsychology of different threat perceptions as opposed to singular
threats, such as from international terrorism, immigration, or
environmental degradation, and of the consequences of different threat
perceptions for other political attitudes and behaviours. Research has
tended to be either on discrete threats when, as work in IR and Security
The Conclusion sums up the research, explores its implications, and draws lessons for the future for both academic and policy-making communities. The implications of the research are several, spanning government and its understandings of how the public views security threats and how the public perceives, experiences, and responds to messages about security threats, academic research in IR and Security Studies and how it conceives of public opinion and the role of the citizen in the risk management cycle; and academic research in Political Psychology and its understandings of the origins and consequences of threat perceptions.
In times of national security, scholars and activists who hail from the
communities under suspicion attempt to draw readers and listeners to the
complexity of the world we inhabit. For those who campaigned against the SUS law
in the 1980s, when young Black men were being routinely stopped in the streets,
the wave of counter-terrorism legislation and policy that exists today will be
very familiar. Similarly, recent discussions about the impact of drill music in
the culture of young Black men has drawn questions around the ways in which they
should be securitised, with senior police calling for the use of terrorism
legislation against them. In this environment, when those who study and have
lived alongside the communities who are at the scrutiny of the state raise
questions about the government, military and police policy, they are often shut
down as terrorist-sympathisers, or apologists for gang culture. In such
environments, there is an expectation on scholars and activists to condemn what
society at large fears. This volume is about how that expectation has emerged
alongside the normalisation of racism, and how these writers choose to subvert
the expectations raised on them, as part of their commitment to anti-racism.
The Arab–Israeli conflict has been at the centre of international affairs for decades. Despite repeated political efforts, the confrontation and casualties continue, especially in fighting between Israelis and Palestinians. This new assessment emphasizes the role that military force plays in blocking a diplomatic resolution. Many Arabs and Israelis believe that the only way to survive or to be secure is through the development, threat, and use of military force and violence. This idea is deeply flawed and results in missed diplomatic opportunities and growing insecurity. Coercion cannot force rivals to sign a peace agreement to end a long-running conflict. Sometimes negotiations and mutual concessions are the key to improving the fate of a country or national movement. Using short historical case studies from the 1950s through to today, the book explores and pushes back against the dominant belief that military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges. In The sword is not enough, we learn both what makes this idea so compelling to Arab and Israeli leaders and how it eventually may get dislodged.