‘We are, by nature, a tolerant people’: Securitisation and counter-securitisation in UK migration politics

Paterson, I. and Karyotis, G. (2022) ‘We are, by nature, a tolerant people’: Securitisation and counter-securitisation in UK migration politics. International Relations, 36(1), pp. 104-126. (doi: 10.1177/0047117820967049)

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The ‘securitisation’ of migration is argued to rest on a process of framing migrants as a threat to key values, principally identity. Yet, the socially constructed nature of ‘identity’ implies the potential for dual usage: support and contestation of the security frame. Using the UK as an illustrative case, this overlooked dynamic is explored through mixed-methods, incorporating elite political and religious discourse (2005–2015) and original public attitudinal survey evidence. The discourse analysis reveals that the preservation of an imperilled British identity (‘tolerance’) is a frame invoked, in different ways and by different actors, to either support or contest the securitisation of migration. Similarly, British citizens who deeply value the preservation of ‘Britishness’ have diverse, positive and negative views on migration, challenging the notion that identity as a referent object is deterministically linked to anti-immigration attitudes. The innovative concept of ‘counter-securitisation’ is utilised and developed, unpicking these nuances and their implications.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The ESRC+3 Studentship entitled ‘Love Thy Neighbour? The Impact of Religion on Immigration attitudes in Europe.’ (Award reference number: ES/J500136/1); and the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project, entitled ‘Building Futures: Aspirations of Syrian Youth Refugees and Host Population Responses in Lebonon, Greece and the UK’, funded jointly through the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (award reference: ES/P005179/1). Please see www.RefugeePolitics.net.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Karyotis, Professor Georgios and Paterson, Dr Ian
Authors: Paterson, I., and Karyotis, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:International Relations
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1741-2862
Published Online:20 October 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Relations 36(1): 104-126
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190423ESRC Doctoral Training Centre 2011...Mary Beth KneafseyEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J500136/1Research and Innovation Services
173536Perspectives of migrants and host populationsGeorgios KaryotisEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/P005179/1S&PS - Politics