This chapter explores counterterrorism and counter-radicalisation practices
in the United States and operationalises a more sociological approach to
securitisation by looking at security practices themselves. I look at the
everyday practices of security actors at various levels of the security
field: federal (the Department of Homeland Security) and city (the NYPD).
The chapter establishes two types of counterterrorism practice: the ‘hard’
approach and the ‘soft’ approach (referred to as countering violent
extremism), which relies on counter-insurgency tactics. The chapter
investigates cases of police entrapment by security professionals and, in
line with civil liberties unions, offers a critique of the surveillance and
targeting of minority groups for ‘security’ purposes.
This chapter first historicises securitisation theory and situates the theory
in the wider field of international security. It shows that securitisation
theory was innovative in the sense of challenging the state-centricity and
over-militarised nature of international security during the Cold War. The
chapter then proceeds with a brief discourse analysis of speeches made by
George W. Bush and Barack Obama in relation to Islam and the role of Muslims
in the war on terror. It argues that Bush and Obama articulated Islam as a
‘peaceful religion’ and that terrorists ‘hijacked its peaceful teachings’.
Even Donald Trump sought to reassure the American public that his executive
order banning citizens from Muslim-majority countries was ‘not a Muslim
ban’. As a result, the chapter demonstrates that this presents a challenge
to securitisation theory. The last section engages with the burgeoning
post-Copenhagen School literature, which has raised important concerns about
securitisation theory, and concludes by addressing the implications for the
puzzle of the book.
The introduction establishes the puzzle of the study, by questioning how it
is possible for US administrations to securitise Islam with a language of
amity and peacefulness. The chapter reaffirms that while a lot of
anti-Muslim prejudice and racism is overt, studies on averse and covert
racism within the context of the war on terrorism have been more silent. The
chapter illustrates the logic of covert language through the children’s
story ‘No is yes’. The chapter then sets the goals of the book. First, the
book aims to unpack the paradoxes of the securitisation of Islam, which stem
from the contradiction between counterterrorism practices that discriminate
minority groups and living in a society that is averse to racism. The second
goal of the book seeks to theorise the affective process of indirect
securitisations in order to add texture to the analysis of the
securitisation of Islam. The chapter finally situates the study within a
wider body of literature on the role of affect and emotions in the social
sciences, critical counterterrorism studies and quantum theory.
This chapter explains the epistemological and ontological positions of the
book and clarifies the methodology used for this study. The chapter examines
the linguistic turn in the social sciences and establishes the relation
between reality and language. Influenced by the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein,
it argues that language is constitutive of reality and thus matters for how
we understand the world. Second, the chapter excavates the role of language
in securitisation theory to foreground the central argument about linguistic
practice. Lastly, the chapter introduces three key linguistic aspects that
play an important part in the book: strategic narratives, indirect speech
acts and framing Islam as a non-security issue.
‘I am the least racist person,’ Donald Trump declared. This book unpacks how it
is possible for various American administrations to impose discriminatory
counterterrorism (CT) and countering violent extremism (CVE) measures on Muslim
communities and yet declare that ‘Islam is peace’ or that ‘Muslims are our
friends’. The book addresses some of the paradoxes of the securitisation by
linking discourses about the role of Muslims in the war on terror in the United
States with covert forms of racism. The book is concerned with a securitisation
that is covertly rather than overtly expressed, which enables securitising
actors like Trump to deny plausibility of racism and claim that they are ‘the
least racist person’. The book offers a critique of the ‘soft’ and ‘hard’
approaches to CT and CVE and advances an alternative way to understand
radicalisation and terrorism by introducing a quantum perspective. Lastly,
drawing on the affective turn, the book adds body to the analysis by theorising
emotions and affect in the securitisation of Islam. The book argues that this
covert securitisation constructs white American subjects as innocent,
unprejudiced and living in a post-racial society averse to racism, whilst
constructing Muslim subjects as potential terrorists and thus as sites of
securitisation. This book is a timely analysis of the securitisation of Islam
since 9/11 and presents an original study that contributes to debates on
Islamophobia, white fragility and white victimhood, which have proliferated
since the rise of far-right (populist) parties in Europe and the US.
This chapter offers an innovative twist to securitisation theory by
introducing the notion of indirect securitisations, which occur when the
speaker resorts to covert language rather than an explicit language of
threats and enmity. This type of securitisation is more likely in societies
where what Tali Mendelberg refers to the ‘norm of racial equality’ prohibits
racist speech. It also speaks to everyday racism by exploring how the
indirect securitisation of Islam in the war on terror constitutes a covert
form of racism. To this end, the first section draws on John Searle’s
indirect speech act theory and unpacks how Bush, Obama and Trump have used
indirect speech acts when speaking about Islam. Because indirect
securitising speech acts allow actors to avoid worst possible outcomes and
‘save face’, this chapter argues that indirect securitising speech acts are
an important tool in elites’ securitising playbook.
This chapter focuses on the value of text, language and how the Good Friday Agreement was constructed. It explores the role of text in creating momentum and interrogates its function as an instrument of persuasion.
The conclusion draws together the main strands of the interview findings and reiterates the key shifts that occurred from the Good Friday Agreement on. It highlights the problems involved in implementing the structures of peace and notes how a shift from ambiguity to clarity as a peace process goes on can create problems of rigidity and intransigence which make the promise of peace harder to achieve and can sour political relations as a result.
The conclusion summarises the key elements that shaped attempts to build peace in Northern Ireland and highlights the value of a common approach to dialogue and negotiation as well as the need for a coherent strategy to support political aspiration and objectives.