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How Dystopian Security Images Mobilise Voter Support

Populist politicians on the right of the political spectrum have become well-known for their ability to create chilling images of insecurity and crisis. From countries "overrun by migrants" to "economic collapse", populist narratives often tie existential anxieties to concerns about immigration, globalisation, integration and political correctness. Dr Alexandra Homolar’s Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship explores how populist dystopian security images motivate political support, the project will develop a new account of how populist security rhetoric works at the level of everyday emotional experiences.
Related publication:
Homolar, A. and Löfflmann, G. 2022. 'Weaponizing Masculinity: Populism and Gendered Stories of VictimhoodLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window', Journal for the Study of Radicalism 16(2): 131-148.


Outsider Threats, Security Frames, and Target Audiences in US Security Policy

Perceptions of insecurity are a key source of violent conflict and international instability. This project investigates the US preoccupation with security threats after the Cold War ended, and how the discursive redefinition of the post-Cold War landscape in terms of danger and uncertainty has locked the US into perpetuating expensive security practices - even in times of severe economic crisis.

Related Publication:
Homolar, A. 2022. 'A Call to Arms: Hero-Villain Narratives in US Security Discourse', Security Dialogue 53(4): 324-341. [open access]

Maintaining US Hard Power after the Cold War

Uncertainty has emerged as the discoursive framework that interlinks US security policy traditions with post-Cold War strategic planning efforts and continues to set the boundaries of political possibility for contemporary US defense policy. Exploring the gradual reconstruction of US national security interests after the threat posed by the ‘Evil Empire’ receded, this project shows that while uncertainty may not always matter in the making of US defense policy, at moments that are perceived as critical turning points, it may matter most of all.

Related Publication:
A. Homolar (fc.) The Uncertainty Doctrine: Narrative Politics and US Hard Power after the Cold War (Cambridge University Press [in press]).

Crisis Leadership and Benchmarking Practices

This SISAW research strand takes the study of how political agents speak security beyond a specific country or regional focus. It addresses the security apsects of two interdisciplinary collaborative projects:

  • Benchmarking in Global Governance (BiGG)
    [with André Broome (University of Warwick) and Joel Quirk (University of the Witwatersrand)].
  • Crisis Leadership in Global Governance (CLiGG)
    [with Malcolm MacDonald and Stephanie Schnurr (Centre for Applied Linguistics), as well as Lena Rethel (Department of Politics and International Studies)]. Between 09/2012 - 07/2013 the pilot project was funded by a University of Warwick Strategic Award (£20,000).