Counter-radicalisation policy and the securing of British identity

The politics of Prevent

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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‘Counter-radicalisation policy and the securing of British identity is thus an important and original contribution to (Critical) Terrorism Studies and (Critical) Security Studies and, more broadly, to disciplines such as International Relations, Criminology and Sociology.     
Alice Martini
Critical Studies on Terrorism
August 2019

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