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Beyond the security vs. liberty paradigm: discourse coalitions and security politics in Israel

Sharon Weinblum
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Sharon Weinblum
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Open Panel

Abstract

Security politics and particularly those passed in the framework of the “fight against terrorism” are often presented by political actors and analysed by scholars as the outcome of a security/liberty balance (Waldron 2003). Despite the use of the term “security” by realist scholars of the International Relations discipline neither “security” nor “liberty” can however be seen as ontological realities that could be measured. Drawing on constructivist approaches of public policies, this paper therefore aims to challenge this perspective and to offer tools in order to analyse “security politics” with a more dynamic understanding. More precisely, the paper seeks to analyse the imposition of several laws passed by the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) in the name of security and engendering debates on their impact on democracy from 1985 to 2008 (the laws on elections, incitement, citizenship and right to residence). Drawing on Hajer’s conceptual framework (Hajer 1995), the analysis attempts to show by a genealogical discourse analysis, how the formation of discourse coalitions in the Knesset can be seen as an explanatory factor in the process of discourse structuration -the imposition of a specific discourse- and of discourse institutionalisation into law. The hypothesis put forward is that the imposition of a discourse coalition structured around the legitimate regime and more precisely around the “defensive democracy regime” is what has led to the passing of the security laws under review. On the empirical level, the Knesset protocols -first, second and third readings of the laws- combined with interviews of MKs will be analysed with the qualitative software NVivo.