Identity, Securitization, and New Norm Creation

The evolution of US normative behavior during the Global War on Terror


  • Filip Svítek Charles University



Central Intelligence Agency, culture, discourse, enhanced interrogation, identity, intersubjectivity, language, National Security Culture, norms, rules, securitization, torture


This article explores domestic security policy and international threats through a constructivist lens, examining how the US Central Intelligence Agency functionally employs controversial tactics such as coercive interrogations and extrajudicial detention within a society that represents liberal normative democracy – one that in theory should prefer to uphold norms of human rights rather than infringe upon them. There appear to be two main concepts at play: security as an underlying cultural identity (i.e. a product) and security as a subjective act (i.e. a process). In particular, National Security Culture (the product) and securitization (the process) can together allow for the evolution of normative behavior. Empirical results show that techniques of enhanced interrogation, practiced furtively during the Global War on Terror, were introduced as new internal norms due to successful securitization. These norms, however, did not coalesce as rules, and through the President Bush administration remained a distinct “torture lite.”

Author Biography

Filip Svítek, Charles University

Filip Svítek is a recent Master’s graduate from Univerzita Karlova (Charles University) in Prague. There he studied international security, and wrote his thesis on non-material motives for conflict. He has published work with STRATPOL on network-centric warfare (ISBN 978-80-972526-0-1) and indirect strategic coercion with Karolinum Press (ISBN 978-80-246-3674-0). His field experience includes praxis with the Czech Foreign Ministry in Los Angeles and the US State Department in Zagreb.




How to Cite

Svítek, F. (2017). Identity, Securitization, and New Norm Creation: The evolution of US normative behavior during the Global War on Terror. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 35, 5–29.



Research articles