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Theoretical issues and local challenges

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 countering extremism: 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

in Encountering extremism
Ontological, epistemological and normative issues
Sondre Lindahl

Introduction As the two preceding chapters have documented, it would not be an overstatement to suggest that Western countries embraced a kind of terrorism/counter-terrorism hyperbole after the 9/11 attacks. The almost singular focus and frenzied attention on waging war on terror was at the same time, as a recent article shows, supported by a similar singular focus and attention in academia on jihadism ( Schuurman, 2019 ). As a result, other terrorism s or forms of violent extremism were subjugated or simply ignored. However, with several attacks perpetrated

in Encountering extremism
Stephen Emerson
Hussein Solomon

5 Terrorism and extremism Since September 2001, the struggle against international jihadist terrorism all across the globe has become a defining security paradigm of the twenty-first century. Even the most remote and neglected corners of the earth have become caught up in the fight, and the African landscape is now an inescapable—and increasingly critical—part of this new security equation. Without a doubt several areas of the continent have become the new foci of African and international efforts to combat the rising tide of international jihadist and extremist

in African security in the twenty-first century
Maéva Clément

While organisations articulate a similar romantic narrative in phases of radicalisation and extremism, the previous chapter has already outlined some preliminary differences in narrative emphasis. This chapter explores these further by contrasting the organisations’ respective performance of emotions in their phases of activism. As I argued before, some performances of romance are more intensely emotional than others. Such variations can be studied by drawing on the concept of narrative emotionalisation

in Collective emotions and political violence
Understanding state responses to terrorism in Egypt
Dina Al Raffie

-independence Egypt, the trajectory of modern-day jihadism traces its intellectual, ideological roots to late nineteenth-century Islamic reformers and, more concretely, to the founding of the Jama‘at al-Ikhwan al - Muslimun (the Muslim Brotherhood, henceforth Ikhwan). However, it would be misleading to present jihadism in general as the primary threat to Egyptian national security interests. Although Islamic extremism has arguably constituted the primary terrorist threat to the nation state since its independence, the Egyptian conceptualization of terrorism and the way in which

in Non-Western responses to terrorism
Do counter-extremism strategies produce peace?
Kieran Ford

Introduction 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

in Encountering extremism
A genealogical study of terrorism and counter-terrorism discourses
Chin-Kuei Tsui

Tracing the discursive origins of ‘(violent) extremism’: terrorism, radicalisation and extremism Recently, the terms terrorism , radicalisation and extremism have been utilised interchangeably by scholars, decision makers and policy practitioners to interpret the so-called ‘terrorist threat’. The tendency is to increasingly merge these terms into a sole discursive framework that is perceived to affect the modern epistemological understanding of terrorism and the subsequent practices of countering (violent) extremism in many Western countries ( Richards

in Encountering extremism
Defending democracy

This book looks at the theoretical issue of how a democracy can defend itself from those wishing to subvert or destroy it without being required to take measures that would impinge upon the basic principles of the democratic idea. It links social and institutional perspectives to the study, and includes a case study of the Israeli response to Jewish extremism and violence, which tests the theoretical framework outlined in the first chapter. There is an extensive diachronic scrutiny of the state's response to extremist political parties, violent organizations and the infrastructure of extremism and intolerance within Israeli society. The book emphasises the dynamics of the response and the factors that encourage or discourage the shift from less democratic and more democratic models of response.

The role of the United Nations Security Council
Alice Martini

Introduction Counter-terrorism has undergone a significant shift since its ‘post-9/11’ inception. In the last decade, the language and the policies of the ‘war on terrorism’ started losing legitimacy. Maintaining this discursive structure and its practices meant that the discourse had to be reformulated against new challenges. The discourse on terrorism is now replete with references to radicalisation and extremism. These categories have become central in fighting terrorism but do not present a lesser grade of incongruency than their predecessors. Despite

in Encountering extremism