Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Translating security. How right-wing and left-wing political parties have securitized Islam in the UK, France, and Italy

Gaudino, Ugo (2023) Translating security. How right-wing and left-wing political parties have securitized Islam in the UK, France, and Italy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.103131) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:103131)

Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only until October 2026.

Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of 24Dissertation_UG_Translated_Security_corrected_.pdf]
Official URL:


This thesis contributes to research in critical security studies and to current debates on Islamophobia by exploring the historical trajectory and the intra-party dynamics that brought three centre-left parties (the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, and the Italian Democratic Party) to securitize Islam. Western governments have securitized Muslims in the last decades. Yet, securitization theories have not sufficiently explored the ideas, tropes, and policies through which securitization manifests across and inside different parties. While there is abundant research on right-wing Islamophobia and on the right-wing adjustment of liberal and left-wing themes, the securitization of Muslims by left-wing parties has been mostly neglected, including by existing securitization theories. Both the Copenhagen and the Paris Schools of securitization provide a shallow account of security politics because they pay limited attention to the way tropes travel across the political spectrum, and the process through which they are adapted and acquire meaning for specific constituencies. Whereas both Schools are methodologically focused on the state as the primary unit of analysis, this thesis provides an original contribution by showing that political parties translate security in the name of various referent objects. This is a necessary step to explain why the same securitized threat (Muslims) is interpreted in different ways by political parties of various political ideologies. Hence, my research question asks: How does securitization travel across and inside parties?

I argue that securitization travels across and inside parties through a process called translation, that occurs throughout the appropriation of tropes traditionally belonging to the other political pole. Translation is active, because the tropes are translated into a language coherent with partisan ideologies to make them intelligible for the target audiences, such as party members. Translation is also collective. If the securitization audiences are not persuaded by translation, the process might be rejected, and such rejection can lead to de-securitization. Translation is also possible because of different contextual elements: the party history, the interaction between Right and Left, and significant critical junctures that increased the perception of insecurity raised by Muslims. Building on this analytical framework, the chapters on the UK, France and Italy show that parties translate both inter- and intra-linguistically in the name of different referent objects: balanced race relations, for Labour; secularism (laïcité) for the Socialist Party; human security and gender equality, for the Democratic Party. Moreover, the empirical chapters illustrate that the bulk of translation happens on the Left, as centre-left parties have translated both tropes and policies from the Right, as well as a conservative meaning of security.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Mavelli, Luca
Thesis advisor: Aistrope, Tim
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.103131
Uncontrolled keywords: Translation, security, securitization, Muslims, Islam, right-wing parties, left-wing parties, UK, Italy, France
Subjects: J Political Science
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2023 08:10 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2023 11:31 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Gaudino, Ugo.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.