Branding Rights

The position of political cartoons in the securitisation of population groups in a democracy


  • Dané Smith University of London



securitisation, democracy, social construction, political cartoons, democratic rights, plural society


Extending on notions of securitisation and how it challenges democracy, this paper uses Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad of media effects within a social constructivist paradigm, to engage in an intertextual and intervisual analysis of political cartoons in Denmark. In doing so this paper illustrates how and why particular community groups within democracies can be targeted in ‘speech acts’ that subsequently pushes them into becoming securitised as possible threat groups within the democracy. The securitisation that takes place in democracies through these identified and analysed ‘speech acts’ embedded in political images are deconstructive features to promoting democratic rights, and must be understood and addressed at a structural level to instead promote desecuritisation.

Author Biography

Dané Smith, University of London

Dané Smith, 25, is the vice-chair of the Conflict and Security Studies Student Research Committee of the International Association for Political Science Students. She is busy completing her MA in Global Diplomacy through the University of London while working in Muscat, Oman as a trainer at the professional development institute, Ireland House. Dané research interests are varied amid foreign intervention, women’s rights, civil war, identity politics and migration, but she primarily focuses on the security-development nexus and the role of education as a tool of development in post-conflict reconstruction.




How to Cite

Smith, D. (2017). Branding Rights: The position of political cartoons in the securitisation of population groups in a democracy. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science, 32, 60–80.