The discursive construction of insecurity and risk in UK news narratives to alleged terrorist plots

Authors: Matthews, J.

Conference: Images of Terror, Narratives of (In)security: Literary, Artistic and Cultural Responses

Dates: 23-24 April 2013


In the decade since September 11, the terrorist threat to the UK was associated with a number of high-profile alleged plots, foiled following the intervention of the police and security services. Media representations of these episodes were characterised by short periods of intense, highly speculative news reporting concerning the nature of these various threats. Alleged plots, therefore, became integral to the post 9.11 narrative to terrorism in the UK. They served to heighten awareness of a latent, and largely existential threat, contributing to a culture of fear and insecurity that permeated political and public discourses to terrorism. In this paper I will evaluate how insecurity and risk concerning the wider threat from terrorism became routinised through media representations of these ‘terrorist-related’ episodes. I develop this argument by drawing on a longitudinal study of UK press reporting on alleged terrorist plots from 2001 to 2011 to present an overview of media coverage of these events and highlight the discursive and thematic patterns through which they were constructed.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Jamie Matthews