Securitization of money laundering in the UK, Finland, and Estonia 2010-2020



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Tartu Ülikool


The aim of this study was to analyze securitization process of a non-traditional, globalized threat, its interplay between geopolitical transformations, and national Selfconstruction. It was presumed the processes are intertwined and take place at least partly on a simultaneous basis. The small-N comparative case study based on qualitative methods was focused on money laundering in the UK, Finland, and Estonia during the years 2010-2020. The expectation was that despite different history, state identity, and formal affiliations, a significant level of convergence in securitization of money laundering could be spotted in all cases. However, state (narrative) identity was expected to influence on how securitization was argued to relevant audiences. It was presumed that no geopolitical shifts, identity reframing, or domestic factors alone can explain the process, but together they form a set of factors with significant explanatory power behind securitization. To clarify the issue, a content analysis focused on legislation proposals, political debates, media articles, and policy platforms was carried out. The results of the study are presented and analyzed from four perspectives: referent objects, threat construction, claims and demands for extraordinary actions or urgency, and interplay between securitization, (geopolitical) transformations, and Self-construction. The expectations were largely confirmed. Based on the theoretical assumptions and empirical findings, a new framework suitable for analyzing comparable phenomena of the post-Cold War global order, systemic community securitization, is presented. Instead of a simple collective securitization, systemic community securitization involves both ontological (or a system-based) and geopolitical element, focused on securing mutually (re)constructed values as well as their institutional and geopolitical manifestations.