Britain in Europe, Europe in Britain: the field of anti-terrorism intelligence cooperation

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis investigates the transnationalisation of British intelligence, in the context of intelligence cooperation with European partners in anti-terrorism matters. This inquiry puts forward the idea of a 'Europe of anti-terror intelligence cooperation' to challenge false beliefs and, in particular, two dominant representations of intelligence relationships. Despite the British opt-out from Justice and Home Affairs and ‘Brexit’, it disputes not only the assumption whereby Britain has an ambivalent position towards the European Union as a result of its ‘special relationship’ with the United States but it also debunks the myth of the unbreakable allegiance of British services to the American 'friend'. By contrast, it shows that alliances with European services have long been in development and have formed, over time, a space of relationships which is structured around specific stakes and modalities of action.
The contribution of sociology, notably through Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts, is crucial since it breaks with the dominance of rational choice theory and functionalist approaches and puts the role of social actors and their daily 'ways of doing things’ at the core of the inquiry. It is, therefore, by carrying out an ontological and an epistemological rupture with previous studies that this project can shed light on the ‘Europeanness’ of British services.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorDidier Bigo (Supervisor), Claudia Aradau (Supervisor) & William Philpott (Supervisor)

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