Questioning proscription
Holding government to account?
in Banning them, securing us?
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Chapter 5 focuses on the types of question that are asked by politicians within parliamentary debate on the proscribing or banning of terrorist organisations. It argues that these questions help to demonstrate the legislature’s discursive role in shaping proscription’s meaning; a role that includes appealing for – and perhaps even demanding – justification, explanation, elaboration and clarification from the executive on this power’s application. The questions asked by parliamentarians therefore matter, we argue, for at least three reasons. First, they provide a significant component of the content of these debates – occupying a lot of the time taken by this ritual – and taking them seriously therefore provides a fuller understanding thereof. Second, they illustrate the importance of contestation, dispute and debate that we see as central to the proscription ritual and its performance of liberal democratic accountability. Third, these questions also have wider conceptual significance for helping us to think through the temporalities and fixedness of specific roles within security dramas, as well as the heterogeneity of participants therein.

Banning them, securing us?

Terrorism, parliament and the ritual of proscription


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