Accepted Paper:

Contesting legitimacy: media publics and security policy in multi-ethnic Britain  
Marie Gillespie (Open University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the public scepticism surrounding the 2003 Iraq War and subsequent security policy in terms of declining trust in the PM Tony Blair, and a corrosive legitimacy deficit with significant implications for the prospects of participatory democracy and multicultural citizenship.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines how multi-ethnic publics debate questions of legitimacy. It explains the deep public scepticism surrounding the Iraq War (2003) and subsequent security policy, not just in terms of declining trust in the PM Tony Blair, but as a corrosive "legitimacy deficit" with significant implications for the prospects of participatory democracy and multicultural citizenship. The arguments are grounded in a collaborative ethnography of news audiences across the UK, including multilingual and multi-ethnic audiences. Using a Weberian framework, the article analyses the patterning of interviewees' responses to the justifications given for going to war, and it assesses the implications of the "legitimacy deficit" for the UK and its international security policy.

Panel W021
Responses to insecurity: securitisation and its discontents