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Thomas Martin

How can potential future terrorists be identified? Forming one of the four pillars of the United Kingdom’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST, Prevent seeks to answer, and act on, this question. Occupying a central role in security debates post-9/11, Prevent is concerned with understanding and tackling radicalisation. It carries the promise of early intervention into the lives of those who may be on a pathway to violence.

This book offers an innovative account of the Prevent policy, situating it as a novel form of power that has played a central role in the production and the policing of contemporary British identity. Drawing on interviews with those at the heart of Prevent’s development, the book provides readers with an in-depth history and conceptualisation of the policy. The book demonstrates that Prevent is an ambitious new way of thinking about violence that has led to the creation of a radical new role for the state: tackling vulnerability to radicalisation. Foregrounding the analytical relationship between security, identity and temporality in Prevent, this book situates the policy as central to contemporary identity politics in the UK. Detailing the history of the policy, and the concepts and practices that have been developed within Prevent, this book critically engages with the assumptions on which they are based and the forms of power they mobilise.

In providing a timely history and analysis of British counter-radicalisation policy, this book will be of interests to students and academics interested in contemporary security policy and domestic responses to the ‘War on Terror’.

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The Channel project

Identifying individuals who

Thomas Martin

identify potential to radicalisation, and then to flag this information up to a Channel practitioner. You had to work with everyone. As was evident from chapter 1 , getting this taken seriously in other departments and institutions was not easy, but over time this has been achieved. The enacting of Prevent as a statutory duty in 2015 did much to ensure that specified authorities (such as the education, healthcare and social work sectors) were aware of, and committed to, their counter-radicalisation responsibilities. 3

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Crossing the temporal gap

Vulnerability, extremism and

Thomas Martin

, ‘Britishness’ and ‘British values’. The next two chapters, in articulating the assemblage of counter-radicalisation that implements Prevent, will show how this takes concrete effect, targeting specific behaviours, identities and communities. Here, though, the intention is to show the problematic of vulnerability to radicalisation renders an uncertain future as knowable. Vulnerability, it will be shown, is positioned within the policy, as those subjects and spaces that are deemed disassociated from ‘Britishness’ and ‘British

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Thomas Martin

represents an ambition that has asked novel questions of the capabilities and role of the state. Yet these questions have proved controversial, and both the purpose and delivery of the policy have been contested within government. Central to these political debates has been the extent to which questions of identity matter for a counter-radicalisation strategy. The purpose of Prevent is to intervene into processes of radicalisation, but does this entail the state should only intervene when people are actively becoming radicalised

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Thomas Martin

counter-insurgency. It will be shown in this book that the majority of the literature fails to go beyond the political debates outlined in chapter 1 as it lacks an adequate theorisation of temporality. These literatures rooted in concepts of suspect communities and counter-radicalisation move the book closer to this theorisation, showing, respectively, that Prevent operates through producing, and then transforming, identities. The Prevent literature and the separation of security and identity A paper by Thomas

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Thomas Martin

Q: What is the difference between a Paris terrorist, a Portsmouth-Syria jihadist and a Right Wing Extremist? A: Nothing. They all lack a tolerant, integrated national identity. This is not a joke. (Knowles, 2015 ) 1 This anti-joke, written by a former police lead on Prevent, cuts to the heart of the problematic detailed in this book, and the power that the assemblage of counter-radicalisation mobilises in response. Those who enact violent

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Thomas Martin

produced which makes the objects of threat intelligible in the present. Within the context of counter-radicalisation policy, the temporal ambition of Prevent, it has been shown, is to intervene early, preclusive to an individual becoming a terrorist. This ambition goes beyond previous state approaches to tackling political violence, actively seeking to intervene into these processes of becoming violent . This has required that it be possible to identify such processes. It is the concept of radicalisation that has enabled

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Thomas Martin

the problematic of vulnerability to radicalisation as central to the formation and evolution of Prevent ( chapters 3 and 4 ), and enables the analysis given here to move beyond the established literature (addressed in chapter 2 ).  The assemblage and power: how is the ‘problem’ of Prevent acted on? Through analysing the problematisation of British counter-radicalisation policy, the book asks how the concept of radicalisation , and those spaces and subjects that are deemed to be vulnerable to radicalisation

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Thomas Martin

Moving full circle, it is now possible to see how the Trojan Horse scandal encapsulates the core, diagrammatic function of counter-radicalisation mobilised through Prevent. The immediate and localisable problem of the Trojan Horse allegations was not that children were being taught violent creeds, nor that any child was being actively radicalised into committing an act of violence. No evidence was found of staff engaged in radicalisation, nor adhering to violent extremism. There was no question of imminent

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Thomas Martin

In response to this problematic, an assemblage of counter-radicalisation has been developed. Representing practices, knowledges and institutions, it is an assemblage that aims to identify those identities and performances that are considered to be alienated and risky, in order to enable their transformation. Within this assemblage, two approaches can be identified. The next chapter will outline how ‘at risk’ individuals are identified and secured. This chapter details how this problematisation informs an