Kat Higgins

Kat Higgins

PhD Researcher

Department of Media and Communications

Key Expertise
security, policing; discourse analysis; subjectivity; mediation; news media

About me

Research topic

(In)secure Australia: Policing, legitimacy and the mediated subject of security

Kat's current research hopes to generate new insights about the reproduction of police legitimacy in Australia by adopting the mediated ‘subject’ of security as a new object of interrogation. The subject, in this sense, is the normative ‘for whom’ of security claims and their associated practices, and is central to the coherence, salience and stability of dominant security knowledges and their associated repertoires of violence. Adopting policing as one such violent security practice, this project uses Critical Discourse Analysis of Australian news media texts to interrogate the contemporary conditions of possibility for the mediated security subject as it relates to the practice of policing in Australia. The objective of this project is not only to generate new empirical knowledge about the role that mediated discourse plays in reproducing the legitimacy of policing as security practice in contemporary Australia, but to also make a broader epistemological contribution to critical security scholarship by testing the productive potential of approaching the question of legitimacy (as it relates to security claims and practices) from the starting point of the mediated subject.

Supervisor: Professor Lilie Chouliaraki and Professor Robin Mansell


Kat has a BA International Studies from RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia) and an MSc Media and Communications from the London School of Economics. For the latter, she was awarded the Best Overall MSc Performance Prize, as well as the Silverstone Prize for her dissertation on mediated (in)security knowledges. Before returning to the LSE Department of Media and Communications to commence her PhD in 2017, Kat held a variety of professional roles within the media, including as a political and editorial consultant for television scripts and as a journalist covering developments in law and the global legal industry. She is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Sociology, leading seminars in Advanced Social Theory.

Expertise Details

security; policing; discourse analysis; subjectivity; mediation; news media