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Democracy in the Light of Security: British and French Political Discourses on Domestic Counter-Terrorism Policies



This article aims to question the relationship between security and liberty that lies at the heart of the current debates on European counter-terrorism policies. It analyses the statements reported in the press made by defenders of the emergency rules thesis and their rivals in the UK and France from September 2001 to June 2003. The findings reveal that, in both cases, the legitimation of the emergency measures rests upon a set of sovereignty-related arguments that reframe the notion of freedom and the place of human rights in contemporary democracies. The defenders of the human rights thesis denounce the reframing of civil liberties but fail to address the freedom issue.