France at war - Hollande’s securitization of terrorism after the 2015 attacks and the reaction of the French public

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: As terrorism after the 9/11 attacks has emerged as one of the most important threats to international security, the political discourse used by world leaders regarding the topic is becoming more and more essential to study. One way to do this is by using securitization theory, which helps us understand how something becomes a security issue, and how security threats are socially constructed through the use of language. In 2015, France experienced two of the deadliest terror attacks in history, one in January and the next in November. The attacks had important consequences for French security policy. Through a discourse analysis of former French President François Hollande’s public speeches and reviews of public opinion polls, this study examines Hollande’s securitization of terrorism and the reactions of the French public. The acceptive response of the French public to Hollande’s changing discourse allowed him to implement different policy actions. Indeed, after the November attacks, a more extreme securitization enabled the former President to gain support for more extreme security measures. The study thereby shows how one political leader can construct the same security threat differently within a short period of time in order to implement different security policies.

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