We are delighted to announce that Mark Pope passed his PhD viva on 14 November 2014. His examiners, Shani Orgad (LSE) and Vian Bakir (Bangor) commended Mark on an exceptionally well-written thesis that took a bold risk of working across the fields of political theory, media and communication, and critical security studies. Mark was supervised by Ben O'Loughlin and benefited from a period as a guest researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona thanks to Mike Jensen and Eva Østergaard-Nielsen. Details of Mark's thesis are below.
Congratulations to Mark.
Risk-cosmopolitanism: How the UK Government and news media structure the order of security discourse to impede challenges on torture and abuse
This thesis explores UK news discourse on counterterrorism. News discourse on counterterrorism involves representations of history, space and identities in order to frame risks, threats and responses. To gain analytical purchase on this, this research considers the forms of cosmopolitanism that emerge in this context and how they are constructed. The concept of cosmopolitanism not only provides critical purpose and a benchmark to evaluate how the order of discourse could be different, but it is utilised here as an analytical tool. Recognising diverse interpretations of the concept of cosmopolitanism, a review of academic literature delineates cosmopolitan perspectives pertinent to a study on counterterrorism that are then located in the news discourse.
The first case study centres on discourse surrounding interrogation techniques used in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and adds a comparative perspective for three 21st century case studies on UK complicity in torture, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Pakistan and the passage of the UK Justice and Security Bill (2012-2013) through parliament. Through assessment of texts and the use of interviews and ethnographic methods this critical discourse analysis explores the dialectical relations between juridical, academic, governmental and activist fields, denoting strategies employed by key actors.
This study finds that in contemporary discourse risk-based cosmopolitanism is most prominent. Discussion of transnational and diffuse terrorist threats and counterterrorism measures have reinforced risk discourses and impacted on the cosmopolitanism that has emerged. A focus on risk has been reflected beyond government and news media fields thereby diminishing concerns for the Other. Despite the rise of transnationalism, risk discourses are supported through a national pride that has remained constant surrounding security since the 1970s. Overall, this thesis demonstrates how actors from government and news media fields have influenced political communication, thereby minimising, although not categorically precluding, the imperative for policy change.