Expert-Led Securitization: The Case of the 2009 Pandemic in Denmark and Sweden

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Expert-Led Securitization: The Case of the 2009 Pandemic in Denmark and Sweden


  • Olivier Rubin Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • Erik Baekkeskov School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia


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Abstract:  This article goes beyond the study of speech acts to investigate the process of securitization during a health crisis. The article introduces the concept of ‘expert-led securitization’ to account for situations when experts dominate the administrative process that translates a securitizing speech act into extraordinary public policy. Expert-led securitization was particularly salient during the 2009 pandemic flu in Denmark and Sweden. Autonomous public health expert agencies led the national securitization processes, and these never included intense political battles or extensive public debates. In turn, the respective processes resulted in different policies: Sweden’s main response to the pandemic was an extraordinary push to vaccinate its whole population, while Denmark’s was a one-off offer of vaccination to about twenty percent of its people. Hence, the 2009 pandemic example illustrates the added value of investigating the administrative dynamics of securitization when seeking to understand differences in extraordinary policies.

Keywords:  Copenhagen School; Denmark; evidence; experts; extraordinary responses; H1N1; health crisis; pandemic; securitization; Sweden

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.2982


© Olivier Rubin, Erik Baekkeskov. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.