Emergency Powers: 9/11, 7/7 and the Continuity of Counterterrorism in the United Kingdom Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Slater, Laura
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • In times of emergency states enact emergency powers that place security over rights since legitimacy is derived from the state’s contract to protect its people as was posited by the political theory of Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan). The “War on Terror” has shown that in times of emergency state conduct can challenge liberal assumptions and cause changes in trajectories of liberal government. The way governments handle contemporary crises such as terrorism can expose hypocrisies, undermine legitimacy, and have damaging and lasting impacts on the relationship between state and civil society. This work investigates how and why the British government enacted a state of emergency in response to the attacks on the United States in September 2001 and traces British counterterror legislation from 2000 until 2007, noting an increased restrictiveness on civil liberties over time. Viewing security and rights as a necessary balance to be struck in liberal democracies, this dissertation looks at whether such a balance was achieved in the United Kingdom and what can be deduced from state conduct in responding to contemporary terrorism. Placing responses in a wider social and cultural context allows for insights that reveal how governments struggle to meet challenges emerging from a post-ideological and digital age that materialized following the Cold War. It finds that state responses to terrorism are driven by perceptions of living in a highly globalized world driven by rapid technological change.
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  • In Copyright
  • Marks, Gary
  • Stephens, John
  • Hooghe, Liesbet
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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