Panel: Critical perspectives on counter-terrorism (Postgraduate Network and Critical Terrorism Studies Working Group joint event)

This event will be in Zoom

The Embedding of a Racially-Exclusionary Europe: Colonial Logics and Marginalization (Re)Produced by the “Radicalization” Discourse

Convenor:  Dr Tom Pettinger (University of Warwick)

Chairs: Dr Alice Martini (Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies) and Dr Raquel da Silva (University of Birmingham)

The discourse of “radicalization”, which emerged in numerous academic fields and government policy after 9/11 (and other attacks in Europe), has significantly shaped social relations, particularly across the Global North. This panel draws together cultural, linguistic, and postcolonial scholarship, in order to identify some challenges posed to the notion of ‘democratic equality’ by the contemporary turn towards anticipatory risk-governance. The panel speaks to the exclusion of certain groups along racialized logics in Europe through preemptive counter-terrorism discourses. It pays special attention to the colonial roots of the discursive frames of ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalization', illuminating how this state-privileged knowledge constructs a fixation between “white, Western us” and “suspicious others”. What knowledge informs contemporary terrorism-preemption discourse, what forms of citizenship are made desirable by their dissemination into the everyday, and at what cost – for whom?

The panel provides historical context for the relationship between contemporary forms of preemptive risk-governance and colonial martial law. It presents perspectives on how the UK's ‘de-radicalization’ Channel programme encourages suspicion of marginalized children’s banal behaviours whilst ignoring (White) state violence, how the Spanish media reconstitute the religious premise of jihad as associated with violence and danger, and how political parties on both the left and right in Italy appropriate racialized counter-terrorism discourses from each other. It demonstrates how these forms of suspicion and racialized exclusions are redrawn into everyday imaginaries and reified into everyday social relations through the ‘radicalization’ narrative, compounding the violence of risk-categorization and suspicion against marginalized groups, and indeed the whole of society itself.


Alice Finden (SOAS, University of London) - Genealogies of the Pre-criminal Space: Coloniality and Emergency Law in Britain and Egypt

Tom Pettinger (University of Warwick) - De-radicalization in Britain: Implementation of Prevent’s ‘Risk Factors’ through Racialized Imaginaries

Carlos Yebra López (New York University) - The Spanish 9/11? How Counterterrorist Metaphors Served to Reinforce Support for the Spanish Government

Ugo Gaudino (University of Kent) - Translating the Securitization of Islam from Right to Left: The Debate on Radicalization and Counter-Terrorism in Italy

Itoitz R Jusue (University of Roehampton) - A Governmental Approach to Counter-Terrorism and Radicalization Imaginaries in the UK

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