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Title: Marching drums : identifications and securitizations in contemporary Britain
Author: Potenz, Timothy James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 9471
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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"March to the beat of your own drum ... but what if your drum is broken or you're hearing someone else's drum by mistake?" - Giles Andreae. As I am told is often the case with PhD theses, the final product you see here bears little resemblance to the best laid plans I initially had for this project. Yet, while over the past few years different ideas, methods, theories, and research avenues were cast overboard, I believe I can say that one central nugget has remained present, on some level, throughout. That is that this project emerged from, has been partly driven by, and goes some way towards addressing the following inquiry: "how do a people's vision of themselves and their attitude towards (in)security impact each other?" This was simply the initial inquiry that gave rise to the thesis at hand. The actual research question of my thesis - which I lay out in my opening chapter - reflects this initial inquiry, but is more specific and constructed with particular methodological considerations in mind. Nonetheless, this inquiry contains the two core elements which remain at the roots of the hypothesis I have developed and tested through empirical research. These elements are, firstly, how a people have come to perceive themselves and, secondly, how they have come to perceive security and security threats. In other words, this inquiry is about public identifications and securitizations, and how they interact. By pursuing this inquiry, I have produced the following thesis in which I explore the influence of public identifications on securitizations, along with an enhanced understanding of both. This research has far-reaching implications and significance for a broad range of important academic and practical policy concerns. Few processes carry such immense consequences as those that lead a people to believe that they face a security threat. "Security" is a powerful word, its invocation triggering some of our most fearful and dangerous characteristics. Claiming that there is an imminent threat to our way of life can generate toxic environments, give apparent justification to more underhand motivations, and offer leaders potentially unbefitting mandates. On the other hand, failing to perceive certain developments as security threats can lead to significantly reduced qualities of life or even prove fatal. With both traditional and diverse usages, "security threat" has been applied by Nigel Farage to EU membership, by Joseph McCarthy to homosexuality, by Kofi Annan to climate change, and by Donald Trump to undocumented immigrants, to name a few. Securitization matters. Likewise, public identifications can lie at the heart of some of the most impactful events, shifts, and orders that shape the domestic and international world. The ways in which we fundamentally perceive our own people, nation, locality, ethnicity, civilization or political tribe can set firm limits on the range of interactions we are open to having with other groups, as well as on the ways we conduct ourselves. Identifications can forge group boundaries and conflicts, override hypothetically "rational" decisions, and delimit international values and even strategies. An enhanced awareness of the influence of public identifications on securitizations can open up, as I will show in this thesis, a much-improved understanding of what leads to vii "successful" securitizations, how impactful our identifications are, why we appropriate force, and how we maintain and express our international self-images. This understanding can enable us to more properly forecast, shape, or block future securitizations and forge more sustainable international policies in tandem with shifting identifications. These are acts of real significance. As such, this understanding is not benign; its development directly affects how securitizations and broader international relations processes play out and can temper the extremity of their consequences. It is with this in mind that I present the following thesis. It aims to produce an enhanced understanding of the influence of public identifications on securitizations, and in doing so contribute to these, and wider, highly meaningful fields of study.
Supervisor: Lebow, Richard Ned ; Stritzel, Holger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available