Legitimising countering extremism at an international level
The role of the United Nations Security Council
in Encountering extremism
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This chapter investigates the standardisation and legitimisation of countering extremism at an international level. Based on Critical Discourse Analysis, this work examines the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC’s) discourse on terrorism, specifically in its relation to extremism. Here, a significant shift took place and the concept of extremism became central to the UNSC’s counter-terrorism activity. It is therefore argued in this work that the concept has problematically been assigned discursively a wide range of meanings. These encompass phenomena that go from physical violence to behaviours and even narratives and ideas. The UNSC has reflected but also mutually constituted this shift in the global discourse on terrorism, broadening and legitimising states’, and its own, exceptional powers. Moreover, in virtue of its legal and political powers, the UNSC has not only produced a discourse on this menace but has also established international legal norms and bodies and enforced them on states of the international community. Describing and discussing these processes, the present chapter thus analyses what is better conceptualised as a Foucauldian dispositif of extremism. Through this, it will be argued, the international organisation enforced a global, standardised governmentality which encompassed the public and political realm but also the private and domestic sphere.

Encountering extremism

Theoretical issues and local challenges

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