The temporal ambition of Prevent
Stopping people
in Counter-radicalisation policy and the securing of British identity
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This chapter starts to challenge the narrative introduced in chapters 1 and 2, and establishes the central relation within Prevent between security and temporality. It argues that Prevent represents a novel ambition for the state: early intervention into processes of becoming violent. It thus intervenes within conditions of uncertainty, in that it is not certain whether such an individual would go on to participate in violence or any other illegal act. Engaging with the emergent academic literature in this area, the chapter argues that such intervention necessarily acts within conditions of uncertainty. This in turn requires discursive and institutional mechanisms that make such a threat knowable and actionable. The term preclusive is introduced here as a general term that emphasises this relation between security and temporality, making clear that all acts of securing are necessarily productive of a future threat they then preclusively act on to mediate. The chapter then demonstrates how the concept of radicalisation fulfils this function for Prevent, identifying potential future violence in the present.

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