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Emphases and justifications in a time of growing focus on Islamist terrorism
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Since the beginning of the 21st century, research about terrorism and its effects have taken an increasingly larger space within the field of Political Science. Studies focused on how terrorism affect voters, countries and policies regarding immigration and security are fairly common, and with its long history with terrorism, the United Kingdom often becomes central in such studies. However, something that has not been as thoroughly studied is how individual political parties have acted within these contexts. The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom (also known as Tories) has used the issue of immigration before to gain voters during times when they stronger support. There are also theories who argue that conservative politics are more appealing to the voters during worrying times, which in turn could be favorable for right-win parties. It should also be known that the Conservative Party suffered defeats in several general elections in the beginning of the 21st century, which coincided with what many believe was the start of the increasing focus on Islamist terrorism.

This thesis investigates in what way the Conservative Party in the UK has changed its emphasis on immigration and (Islamist) terrorism from 1992 to 2017 by analyzing the party’s manifestos with a focus on the section that deals with National security. The thesis will also investigate the emphasis on multiculturalism and border control as these have appeared to be especially important underlying issues for immigration and terrorism. These manifestos will be analyzes longitudinal with the help of a quantitative content analysis which has been inspired by the Manifesto Projects’ methodology. To clarify the context in which these possible changes take place, important events and terror management theories will be included in this study. Furthermore, the coded material will be examined again to identify which arguments are put forward and to determine how the party’s positions in each of the manifest have been justified. It is especially interesting to investigate if the manifestos justify the positions with certain events, if they contain justifications for the actual changes in the emphases and if the justifications differ over time.

The results showed that the prominence of the studied issues generally intensified after the beginning of the 21th century compared to the 20th century. It was noted that immigration critical, terror preventing and border control positive arguments developed in a similar fashion as each other between the manifestos since the 2005 manifesto. This indicates that there was a connection between these issues, even if it is not explicit in the manifestos. Based on the manifestos own justifications, differences over time have been noted among almost all of the issues but they do not explain why the manifestos sometime put more or less emphasis on some of the issues. Furthermore, the justifications rarely connect certain events with the proposed measures but sometimes these justifications do match with such events timewise. Apart from the discovered changes, this thesis suggests future research which in turn could answer some of the uncertainties that were found in the results for example by studying the party’s strategic motivation behind the formulations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 49
National Category
Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-146841OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-146841DiVA, id: diva2:1199055
Educational program
Bachelor of Science in Public Administration
Available from: 2018-04-19 Created: 2018-04-19 Last updated: 2018-04-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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