Biothreat and policy pathways: influences upon current bioterrorism policies in the UK

Ilchmann, Kai-Bastian (2012) Biothreat and policy pathways: influences upon current bioterrorism policies in the UK. Doctoral thesis (DPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The threat of terrorism, and in particular the threat of terrorists using
biological weapons, has grown since the early 1990s, over the decade the
assessment and perception of threat escalated despite an absence of biological
weapons use.

This research explores policy responses to the threat from bioterrorism in
the UK between 1990 and 2005. A case study approach is used to examine the
emergence and rise of the bioterrorism threat, and the institutional
arrangement in place to confront that threat. The dissertation further
investigates the construction of the threat narrative. The policy area of
bioterrorism is obscured by secrecy. Therefore, this dissertation looks towards
policy responses to pandemic influenza, and uses responses to pandemic
influenza as a heuristic device to illustrate the difficulties of risk assessment
and the accompanying institutional complexity.

The study posits that traditional, academic risk assessment
methodologies do not appear to have as large an influence as the narratives.
Furthermore, the prevailing conceptualisation of the bioterrorism threat is the
product of the confluence of three threat narratives. These narratives have
become entangled and subsequently embedded in the institutional response.
Moreover, a number of events have influenced and shaped the threat
narrative of bioterrorism. First, a change in perception (sarin, 1995); then a
jolt to the political and institutional structures (September 11, 2001); and
finally, further bombings and plots have augmented the threat narrative
(Madrid & London).

This study is positioned at the intersection of policy studies and risk
assessment, contributing to an understanding of the formation of institutional
threat perceptions

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
U Military Science > UG Military engineering. Air forces. Air Warfare. Military astronautics. Space warfare. Space surveillance > UG0001 Military engineering > UG0443 Attack and defense. Siege warfare > UG0447.8 Biological warfare. Bacterial warfare
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 08:58
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2015 13:24
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/38596

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