Narratives of insecurity, democratisation and the justification of (mass) violence

Funding Bodies

Global Uncertainties Programme Fellowship, Arts and Humanities Research Council / Economic and Social Research Council.


Abdelwahab El-Affendi (Westminster)

Award Value



'Narratives' of security threats - stories, poems and political propaganda - can create and justify terrorism, authoritarianism and mass violence.

This research analyses how stories about threats to identity emerge and how they are used to provoke mass violence and genocide, as well as terror and counter-terror. It also studies the impact of the 'war on terror' on advanced democracies.

Many dictatorships in the Middle East are surprisingly long-living, and this project will explore if deep and entrenched perceptions of insecurity help these regimes to stay in power. This could help explain why the policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East was doomed to fail: narratives of insecurity which justify terrorism can also prevent democratisation.

Read more on the project website

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Research themes

Research in the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

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Research study

Opportunities for doctoral study.