Terror threats and civil liberties: when do citizens accept infringements of civil liberties?

Authors

  • Walter L. Brent Van der Hell
  • Hjalti Björn Hrafnkelsson
  • Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2021.17.1.1

Keywords:

Civil liberties, trust, anxiety, terrorism, Iceland.

Abstract

Threats from subversive or threatening enemies are sometimes invoked by governments to justify infringements of civil liberties. The present article is concerned with the factors likely to affect citizen acceptance of such infringements as legitimate and necessary. A survey was conducted to evaluate the disposition of respondents to the relative prioritisation of security over civil liberties. The results indicate that even in a rather secure setting, where threats from terror can be considered relatively distant, citizens have a disposition towards prioritising security, although this depends on the degree of anxiety, political trust and general social trust. Anxiety leads to greater willingness to accept infringements, as does trust in government while general social trust leads to smaller receptiveness in this respect.

Author Biographies

Walter L. Brent Van der Hell

Research assistant, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland.

Hjalti Björn Hrafnkelsson

Research assistant, Faculty of Political Science, University of Iceland.

Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson

Professor, University of Iceland.

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Published

2021-06-21

How to Cite

Van der Hell, W. L. B., Hrafnkelsson, H. B., & Kristinsson, G. H. (2021). Terror threats and civil liberties: when do citizens accept infringements of civil liberties?. Icelandic Review of Politics & Administration, 17(1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2021.17.1.1

Issue

Section

Peer Reviewed Articles

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