Once extremism has been countered, what will the world look like?
This is, obviously, an important question. That a counter-extremism strategy should know exactly what it is hoping to achieve – the kind of world it is attempting to build – appears common sense. Yet, interestingly, while counter-extremism strategies proliferate around the world, it is fascinating to note how poorly defined both extremism and counter-extremism remain. If one cannot define what one is attempting to counter, how can one claim to have succeeded? Two years after
inter-state institution at a global level, tasked with the legal capacity to produce, shape and enforce international norms on states.
By focusing on the Security Council as a context of (global) knowledge and (legal) norms production, this chapter highlights how the organ had a central role in the internationalisation of the discourse and practices to counterextremism. The fact that it adopted and reproduced the new language of extremism unproblematically had several consequences. First, the UN body gave a further impetus to this shift in the discourse providing
Recent years have seen the proliferation of discourses surrounding extremism and related terms. Encountering Extremism offers readers the opportunity to interrogate extremism through a plethora of theoretical perspectives, and to explore counter-extremism as it has materialised in plural local contexts. Through offering a critical interrogation along these two planes – the theoretical and the local – Encountering Extremism presents a unique, in-depth and critical analysis of a profoundly important subject. This book seeks to understand, and expose the implications of, a fundamental problematic: how should scholars and strategists alike understand the contemporary shift from counter-terrorism to counter-extremism? Starting with a genealogical reflection on the discourse and practices of extremism, the book brings together authors examining the topic of extremism, countering extremism and preventing extremism from different theoretical perspectives, such as critical terrorism studies, postcolonialism and gender studies. It then turns to analyses of the specific consequences of this new discourse in international and local contexts such as the United Nations, Nigeria, Tunisia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain.
A critical examination of theoretical issues and local challenges
Alice Martini, Kieran Ford, and Richard Jackson
From countering terrorism to counteringextremism: wider discourse, same problems?
The term extremism has thoroughly permeated counter-terrorism discourses and policies. The word is currently widely employed across the security sector and it has become the ‘explanatory core’ of understandings of terrorism and radicalisation ( Fernández de Mosteyrín and Limón López, 2016 , p. 806). In contemporary discourse, extremism has almost become synonymous with terrorism, to the point that, at times, the words are used interchangeably ( Kundnani and Hayes, 2018 , p. 2
A genealogical study of terrorism and counter-terrorism discourses
and Tsui, 2016 ). More specifically, during the Obama presidency, terms such as extremist , extremism and violent extremism were adopted to replace phrases related to the war on terror and were particularly utilised by officials to interpret the threats posed by al Qaida and ISIS because these groups were the focus of President Obama’s counter-extremism initiatives. The discursive shift of US counter-terrorism, in part, illustrates Obama’s determination to change his predecessor’s controversial foreign and security policies, which had been argued against and
, universities are increasingly participating in state violence (e.g. enforcing immigration checks on students and staff as well as implementing
counter-extremism policies like Prevent). Such hostile
measures are weaved into the structures of these institutions so seamlessly that they are now considered the norm.
There is a particular violence present in these bureaucratic
policies and procedures that we are told to just follow: as
we explore in this chapter, it is one of the ways we refuse
to be complicit. Refusal is also about the interpersonal and
have received many invitations which similarly reduce me
to the performance of ‘speaking Muslim woman’ devoid of
my politics and I decline them all, but they do, nonetheless,
Most recently I was bemused to receive an email from the
Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a counter-extremism,
policy-advising and advocacy think tank9 – a sector I have
repeatedly (and vocally) critiqued because of its dependence
on the hugely flawed notion of ‘extremism’ as a ‘system
of belief’,10 a premise which leads to violence being essentialised into groups of
the renewed focus on extremism through the Extremism Task Force in 2013, the
Counter-Extremism strategy in 2015, and the positioning of extremism as a
key strategic priority in the 2018 CONTEST strategy, this clear separation
of identity and security within the policy is troubled. It represents a
recognition that separating a focus on the perceived causes of violent
extremism from action to tackle radicalisation was problematic, bringing
questions of identity back into the Home Office, alongside Prevent’s
The post-9/ 11 global security regime and the securitization of civil society
Richard McNeil- Willson and Scott N. Romaniuk
centralize, consolidate, and expand
security powers, as well as engaging in the mutually beneficial
trading and co-optation of counter-terror and counter-extremism
Finally, this chapter will argue that this is having a
destabilizing effect on the traditional theoretical models tending
to define regimes, which bifurcate states between the
Feminist critiques of countering violent extremism
Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) report from 2013 (p. 5) notes, ‘the misconception that women are not involved in violent extremism or terrorist radicalisation has often shaped counter-terrorism strategies, exacerbating women’s exclusion from decision making processes and their significant underrepresentation among law enforcement officers and security personnel’. The remainder of the chapter draws on this elaboration of gender essentialisms to examine how they circulate in rhetoric about security and counteringextremisms in CVE programmes.
CVE as a means to