The ritual of proscription
Reproducing liberal democracy
in Banning them, securing us?
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Chapter 7 explores some of the most significant characteristics of parliamentary debates on the proscription or banning of terrorist organisations. These characteristics include, we argue: a remarkably standardised and repetitive framing of proscription; the existence of a core script which is often repeated, with minor alterations, across parliamentary debates; a set of established and identifiable roles that are taken up by participants within these debates (participants who, of course, come and go with the passage of time); repeated arguments around the importance of respecting these debates and their outcomes; and – perhaps most significant of all – a predictable, seemingly near-inevitable, outcome which is known in advance to those parliamentarians present at these debates. These characteristics indicate that proscription debates should be approached not – or, at least, not only or not primarily – as a decision-making exercise in which the outcome is genuinely to be decided. Rather, as a form of contemporary political ritual that reinforces the identities of its subjects by performing that which it claims to represent: liberal democracy. Vital within this, we suggest, is the appearance of dissent amidst broader cross-party consensus on proscription's necessity and legitimacy.

Banning them, securing us?

Terrorism, parliament and the ritual of proscription


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