Lee Jarvis
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Tim Legrand
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Proscription and identity
Constructions of self and other in parliamentary debate
in Banning them, securing us?
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Chapter 6 argues that British political debate on the proscription or banning of terrorist contribute to a process of identity formation. The process is one in which the UK self – or components thereof such as Parliament and parliamentarians – is distinguished from various terrorist others. Proscription debates – and the banning of terrorist groups – are, therefore, performative in that they confer illegitimacy on their target(s): producing particular organisations and their members as ‘unacceptable in this country’. In doing this, moreover, they (re-)produce the United Kingdom as a particular type of political entity with specific – and, very explicitly, liberal, democratic – attributes and characteristics. This sets up a relatively straightforward antagonistic relationship between, on the one hand, a liberal, open and responsible UK self which is mindful of cultural and religious difference, and both cautious and moderate in its actions. And, on the other, a series of illiberal, irrational and extremist terrorist others who remain steadfast in their determination to wage immoral violences against states such as the UK and their publics. Importantly, although there are – again – examples of genuine dissent in these debates, critics of proscription or its application tend to reproduce rather than contest this binary relationship, by appealing for the UK to be truer to its own self-identity.

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Banning them, securing us?

Terrorism, parliament and the ritual of proscription


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