Apportioning blame and establishing risk

Chapter 3 will consider how Conservative strategy towards opposing and undermining Labour evolved during the Cameron era. The chapter will demonstrate how initially when in opposition, the Conservatives set about nullifying the ‘investment under Labour or cuts under the Conservatives’ narrative, which had been so successful for New Labour and Blair in the era of economic prosperity between 1997 and 2007. It will then identify how, in the aftermath of the financial crash, Cameron abandoned this strategy of converging on Labour to neutralise the economy as an electoral issue. The chapter will then explore how the Conservatives set about establishing their narrative of the financial crash – i.e. it was the fault of a profligate Labour government. Apportioning blame was thus central to electoral strategy in 2010, and establishing risk about Labour regaining power was central to electoral strategy in 2015. The chapter will also identify how, alongside emphasising perceptions of economic competence, Conservative strategy also came to revolve around emphasising perceptions of leadership credibility, as Cameron was seen by voters as a more credible political leader than either Brown or Miliband.

in Cameron
The Big Society narrative

Chapter 4 builds upon the discussion in chapter 3 which had focused on economic decline under Labour and how the Conservatives attempted to exploit this. Chapter 4 will identify how this was aligned to a wider critique of Labour based around social decline. It will consider how the broken economic and social policy agendas of Labour were used by the Conservatives to justify a shift away from Big Government, and towards their new governing strategy of the Big Society. The chapter will provide a critique of the Big Society, and the cynicism it provoked within Conservative ranks, before arguing that it should be seen within the context of depoliticisation. Chapter 4 will imply that the Big Society slogan was a rhetorical device for Cameron – i.e. it masked an ideologically motivated strategy to adjust the balance between the state and society. Therefore, chapter 4 will argue that the Big Society narrative should be seen within the context of (a) shifting public expectations of what the state should be responsible for, and (b) limiting the extent to which the state can be blamed.

in Cameron
Restyling and reconstructing Conservatism

Chapter 2 considers the modernisation of the Conservative Party under Cameron from an internal perspective, focusing in on the politics of detoxification. It considers the extent to which change within the Conservative Party occurred under Cameron. The term detoxification reflects the perception that the Conservative brand was toxic, and that electoral recovery was dependent on distancing themselves from the negatives that had disfigured them in the post-Thatcherite era. The chapter will chart how Cameron set about (a) restyling the image of party by the promotion of a socially liberal brand of Conservatism; and (b) reconstructing modern Conservatism – or the extent to which social liberalism was accepted by the PCP. The chapter will argue that change did occur, but that there were limits to the scale of change that Cameron could impose upon his party. The chapter will examine the main themes associated with modernised Conservatism and will argue that their commitment to these themes, once in government, was patchy and inconsistent. It will, however, emphasise that progress was made in terms of international aid and same-sex marriage.

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This chapter examines the role of emotions in securitisation theory and first provides an overview of how emotions are currently integrated in securitisation studies. The chapter then theorises securitisation as an affective practice which is affected by the indirectness and remoteness described in Chapter 5. The chapter also looks at the ways in which gender and the myth of protection play out in the field of security professionals. The chapter argues that securitising Islam indirectly sustains the myth of American innocence and paints America as the ‘true victim’ of 9/11 insofar as the indirectness removes the affective experience that usually accompanies securitisation processes. This chapter thus looks at the securitisation of Islam in an all-encompassing way by adding texture to the analysis of the securitisation of Islam; that is, by including the role of the body, affect, emotions and space, which are central to the proliferation of Islamophobic attitudes in the United States.

in The securitisation of Islam

This chapter sketches out the contours of the logic of counterterrorism and argues that it is informed by a rationalist framework, or ‘the logic of expected consequences’, which reproduces the classical view of sciences. This chapter then shows that this logic transforms cognitive radicalised subjects into behavioural terrorists and creates distance and remoteness between securitisers and securitised subjects. To demonstrate this argument, the idea of remote securitisation is first unpacked, showing how it is achieved through the use of metaphors, euphemisation and the logic of consequences. Finally, the chapter introduces two vantage points to address the problems created by remoteness, one well established and the other more radical, from which the classical view collapses: Pierre Bourdieu’s social and relational ontology and the idea of a Quantum Human.

in The securitisation of Islam
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This chapter summarises and consolidates the principal themes of the book and rounds up the discussion by proposing new avenues for research – namely, strengthening the relationship between covert racism, the securitisation of minority groups and white victimhood, opening up a space for conceptualising securitisation as an affective practice and theorising the quantum view of radicalisation.

in The securitisation of Islam

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.

in The securitisation of Islam

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.

in The securitisation of Islam
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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.

in The securitisation of Islam

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.

in The securitisation of Islam