Everyday security threats

Perceptions, experiences, and consequences

By Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams

Everyday security threats


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9606-8
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2016
  • BIC Category: Warfare & defence, International relations, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Security (National & International), Defence Strategy, Planning & Research, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Society & social sciences / Political science & theory, Sociology, Political science & theory, Military & defence strategy


This book explores citizens' perceptions and experiences of security threats in contemporary Britain, based on twenty focus groups and a large sample survey conducted between April and September 2012. The data is used to investigate the extent to which a diverse public shares government framings of the most pressing security threats, to assess the origins of perceptions of security threats, to investigate what makes some people feel more threatened than others, to examine the effects of threats on other areas of politics and to evaluate the effectiveness of government messages about security threats. We demonstrate widespread heterogeneity in perceptions of issues as security threats and in their origins, with implications for the extent to which shared understandings of threats are an attainable goal. While this study focuses on the British case, it seeks to make broader theoretical and methodological contributions to Political Science, International Relations, Political Psychology, and Security Studies.


'While citizens are asked to involve themselves increasingly in the management of 'security', practitioners and theorists have paid scant attention to public attitudes to security. This book addresses this issue, systematically exploring the attitudes of British citizens to security threats and their management, with some fascinating findings. Bringing together international relations and political psychology, as well as qualitative and quantitative methods, this important book is a fine example of the insights that can be developed through cooperative research beyond our academic silos.'

Matt McDonald is Associate Professor in the School of Political Science and International Studies at The University of Queensland, Australia

Daniel Stevens and Nick Vaughan-Williams have provided the most detailed account yet of the ways in which people identify and respond to a range of factors that can pose threats to themselves, the country they live in, and the world. This is a critically important focus of research in a contemporary world experiencing threats from terrorism, globalization, the environment, and much else. Using a creative combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, the authors determine the range and scope of threats that people confront in their lives, the factors that help to explain why people perceive different threats, and the political consequences of different perceived threats. This book is must reading for scholars and others who want to understand how people identify and respond to security threats that governments are increasingly expected to manage.

Stanley Feldman, Department of Political Science, Stony Brook University


1. Perspectives on security threat politics
2. The 2012 study 'Public perceptions of threat in Britain'
3. The scope of security threats and their causes
4. Security threats and their consequences
5. Government, perceptions, and experiences of security threats, and citizen involvement in the risk management cycle


Daniel Stevens is Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter

Nick Vaughan-Williams is Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick

Everyday security threats

By Daniel Stevens, Nick Vaughan-Williams

Hardcover £85.00 / $130.00

Paperback £21.00 / $30.95

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