The Audience Role in Securitization Theory

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This article aims to advance the agenda of theory building in international relations. Security, as the main concept in IR Theory, is at the heart of this endeavor. For several years now, securitization theory, or the Copenhagen School, as it has been frequently labelled, has been at the forefront of developing IR Theory by conceptualizing security in more detail. We would like to contribute to this debate in greater detail by conceptualizing the main component in securitization theory - the audience, which it is one of the least developed concepts in the initial formulation of securitization theory. For this purpose, as the audience component deserves further development, this article introduces a new method that assists scholars to identify who the relevant audiences are during securitization processes, as outlined by the Copenhagen School. In acknowledging that the phenomenon of perception and misperception has a prominent role in understanding world politics, this article introduces a unique combination between the field of political psychology and securitization theory, one that assists scholars to recognize the audience component. Thus, our new audience conceptualization recognizes two sources for identifying who the relevant audience are. First, it can be determined by the state's rules and thus an entity becomes a Legal Audience by the power of law. Second, it can be emanated from the political perception of the securitizing actor and/or audience and thus an entity becomes a Political Audience. In our opinion, assuming that the conceptual framework offered by this article is not perfect, it will undoubtedly improve the theoretical understanding of the audience component during securitization process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Assessment: A Multidisciplinary Journal on National Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Securitization Theory
  • Perception and Misperception
  • Security Studies
  • international relations
  • Political Psychology
  • audience
  • legal audience
  • political audience
  • positional duty


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