Icelanders’ perspectives on security and foreign affair

Silja Bára Ómarsdóttir


Icelanders’ views on security and foreign affairs since the end of the Cold War are an understudied issue. This article presents the findings of a large scale survey on the position and ideas about foreign affairs and security. The survey was conducted by the Social Science Research Institute of the University of Iceland in November and December 2016. The results of the survey are placed in the context of developments in security studies, with an emphasis on security sectors, ontological security, and securitization. The main findings are that the Icelandic public believes that its security is most threatened by economic and financial instability, as well as natural hazards, but thinks there is a very limited chance of military conflict or terrorist attacks directly affecting the country. These findings are incongruent with the main emphases of Icelandic authorities, as they appear in security policy and political discourse. It is therefore important that the authorities understand how to engage with the public about the criteria upon which risk assessments and security policies are based.


Iceland; securitization; terrorism; ontological security.

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