Christopher Baker-Beall
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Constructing the ‘terrorist’ other
A ‘new’ and ‘evolving’ threat to the European Union
in The European Union’s fight against terrorism
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Chapter Three analyses four strands of the ‘fight against terrorism’ discourse in a detailed manner. The first part of the chapter maps each of the discourse strands, demonstrating how they help to construct the figure of the ‘terrorist’ other. The chapter argues that the ‘terrorist’ other is constructed within the discourse as an extreme and radical threat to the EU who is simultaneously perceived to potentially be a ‘criminal’, a ‘new’ and ‘evolving’ threat, a non-state actor, a member of a group or an individual, such as a ‘lone actor’ or a ‘returning foreign fighter’, who seeks to inflict ‘massive casualties’ against the EU and its member states. The second part of the chapter reflects on the how the ‘fight against terrorism’ discourse functions. It argues that the EU has adopted a criminal justice-based approach to counter-terrorism, which can be differentiated from the US war-based discourse of the ‘war on terror’. The chapter argues that the EU understanding of terrorism is based upon and also constructs an ‘accepted knowledge’ about terrorism that is highly contested, as well as considering the political and societal implications of the discourse.

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The European Union’s fight against terrorism

Discourse, policies, identity


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