'Countering Extremism in the Name of Security: Criminalizing Alternative Politics'

Jackson, William (2012) 'Countering Extremism in the Name of Security: Criminalizing Alternative Politics'. In: Extremity and Excess. University of Salford, Salford, pp. 129-156. ISBN 978-1-902496-66-5

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This analysis considers the development of counter-extremism strategy in the post-9/11 period. It seeks firstly to locate this development in the context of the evolution of 21st century security strategies and secondly to illustrate that it has a vital role in the current politics of security. Focussing on UK, Australian and U.S. security strategies the paper seeks to illustrate that a common approach to counter-extremism has emerged in recent years leading to an increased prominence of such measures in counter-terrorism strategy. The paper considers why this has occurred, what effects it has on the approach to terrorism and how it affects the dominant understanding of the politics of terrorism. The paper attempts to illustrate the integral role official counter-extremism strategy has in defining extremism and in turn locating those individuals, groups and ideas deemed extreme outside of the parameters of legitimate politics. It seeks to reveal the ways in which counter-extremism work serves to depoliticise those deemed „extreme‟ and in turn serves to delegitimise, and in certain cases criminalise, any truly alternative politics to those that define the current regime. The analysis considers the legitimising function the extremist/moderate distinction has in relation to the current politics of security and ultimately, the paper seeks to illustrate that through the construction of the extremist, counter-extremism serves to reinforce a monopoly of legitimacy for liberalism in the current era.

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