Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The discourse of security: language, illiberalism and governmentality

MacDonald, Malcolm N.; Hunter, Duncan


Malcolm N. MacDonald


This book explores how language constructs the meaning and praxis of security in the 21st century. Combining the latest critical theories in poststructuralist and political philosophy with discourse analysis techniques, it uses corpus tools to investigate four collections of documents harvested from national and international security organisations. This interdisciplinary approach provides insights into the ways in which discourse has been mobilised to construct a strategic response to major terrorist attacks and geo-political events. The authors identify the way in which it is used to realize tactics of governmentality and form security as a discipline. This at once constructs a state of exception while also adhering to the principles of liberalism. This insightful study will be of particular interest to students and scholars of subjects such as applied linguistics, political science, security studies and international relations, with additional relevance to other areas including law, criminology, sociology and economics.


MacDonald, M. N., & Hunter, D. (2019). The discourse of security: language, illiberalism and governmentality. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Type Authored Book
Online Publication Date Dec 21, 2018
Publication Date 2019
Deposit Date May 17, 2019
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Pages 1-337
Book Title The Discourse of Security: Language, Illiberalism and Governmentality
ISBN 9783319971933; 9783319971926
Public URL
Publisher URL