Covert racism and affect in the United States post-9/11

‘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.

in The securitisation of Islam
An interview with Rory Montgomery

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Martin Mansergh

This chapter details the dialogue with republicans that led to the IRA ceasefire of 1994 and how the formative stages of the peace process took shape through confidential contacts and channels

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
Abstract only

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
Abstract only

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.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Tim O’Connor

This chapter identifies how a consensual approach to negotiations was developed between the Irish and British Governments and how this approach informed understanding about what an agreement would look like.

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
An interview with Noel Dorr

This chapter explores how the Irish worked to shape the course of Sunningdale, what went wrong, what happened afterwards and how relations developed between Dublin and the British, moving towards the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the increased role of Irish involvement in the affairs of Northern Ireland.

in Inside Accounts, Volume I
An interview with Bertie Ahern

This chapter is concerned with how leadership operates in a peace process and examines how decisions were used to reinforce leadership goals and objectives in order to increase the possibilities of agreement

in Inside Accounts, Volume II
An interview with Wally Kirwan

This chapter examines how the Forum for Peace and Reconciliation informed approaches to negotiation and looks at how the tensions of North-South relations were played out through Strand Two of the negotiations.

in Inside Accounts, Volume II