Counter-Terrorism and the Counterfactual’ is a journal article of interest especially to those researching the foundational assumptions of counter-extremism, especially current ‘radicalisation’ theories.
Published in The British Journal of Politics and International Relations in March 2012 and as an early piece of research on the UK’s Prevent strategy, the article was among the first to interrogate the production of the ‘radicalisation’ discourse underpinning Prevent.
Here, author Charlotte Heath-Kelly argues that “British counter-terrorism currently relies upon the invention of ‘radicalisation’ and related knowledge about transitions to ‘terrorism’ to undertake governance of communities rendered suspicious”.
However, while the deployment of ‘radicalisation’ functions “to make terrorism pre-emptively governable and knowable, it also renders Prevent unstable” by simultaneously presenting “vulnerability indicators” as both “at risk” and “risky” – that is, both vulnerable and dangerous.
The article is available in full online.
This article was cited in the People’s Review of Prevent.
More recent work by Charlotte Heath-Kelly for anti-counter-extremism advocacy:
- Revealed: Secret Vulnerability Support Hubs in the UK health sector (May 2021)
- False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare (July 2020)
Also, have a look at:
- The ‘Science’ of Pre-Crime: The secret radicalisation study underpinning Prevent (Report, 2016)
- The joint letter by 140 academics that called for the full ERG22+ study that gave rise to current ‘radicalisation theories’ to be published and publicly scrunitinised.
- Those concerned with Prevent’s rollout globally as a “flagship” CVE strategy, which has presented multiple human rights abuses, should read the Transnational Institute’s report on this growing concern (2018).
- Browse our full Resources for more recent research