National security risks? Uncertainty, austerity and other logics of risk in the UK government’s National Security Strategy

A. Hammerstad, I.J.C. Boas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Risk scholars within Security Studies have argued that the concept of security has gone through a fundamental transformation away from a threat-based conceptualisation of defence, urgency
and exceptionality to one of preparedness, precautions and prevention of future risks, some of which are calculable, others of which are not. This article explores whether and how the
concept of security is changing due to this ‘rise of risk’, through a hermeneutically grounded conceptual and discourse analysis of the United Kingdom government’s National Security
Strategy (NSS) from 1998 to 2011. We ask how risk-security language is employed in the NSS; what factors motivate such discursive shifts; and what, if any, consequences of these shifts
can be discerned in UK national security practices. Our aim is twofold: to better understand shifts in the security understandings and policies of UK authorities; and to contribute to the
conceptual debate on the significance of the rise of risk as a component of the concept of security.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-491
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • concept of security
  • national security strategy
  • risk
  • securitisation
  • threat
  • UK

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