Lucy Thomas

Thesis title:

Fear, identity and security in post-9/11 American foreign policy


A poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs in August 2016 found that 42% of Americans felt that their country is less safe than it was before the 9/11 attacks. Fear and security in US foreign policy is of fundamental contemporary concern, yet the role of fear has not been systematically interrogated. The 9/11 attacks and Trump’s electoral success have given rise to an era of volatility and uncertainty; the political and military consequences of which reach all corners of the globe. Scholars have explored how George W Bush’s post-9/11 discourse created and perpetuated a culture of fear around terrorism. Mobilising fear has also been central to Trump’s exclusionary and inflammatory immigration policy: the collective fear of violence and a decay of American identity are central tenets of “making America great again.” The intersection between terrorism and migration revolves around the inextricable relationship between fear and identity; particularly how ‘others’ (terrorists and migrants) are presented in opposition to an American ‘self.’The aim of Lucy’s research is to assess how discourses of fear are evoked and invoked by the George W Bush and Trump administrations, and how these are used to justify securitised responses to terrorism and migration. In doing so, she will identify ways in which collective fear plays in to post-9/11 US national identity, and explore how this is predicated upon ‘self/other’ binaries.

Social media:

First supervisor:

Aggie Hirst


11 – Global Order, Violence & Security Practice




Writing the Self, Writing as Care