9 september 2013
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Disconnection, resistance and anti-terrorism powers Lee Jarvis, Swansea University [email protected] Michael Lister, Oxford Brookes University [email protected] 9 September 2013. Anti-terrorism ( AT)/citizenship nexus. Much discussed, yet…

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9 September 2013

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9 september 2013

Disconnection, resistance and anti-terrorism powersLee Jarvis, Swansea [email protected] Lister, Oxford Brookes [email protected]

9 September 2013


Anti terrorism at citizenship nexus

Anti-terrorism (AT)/citizenship nexus

  • Much discussed, yet…

    • Citizenship often reduced to a formal legal status

    • Unidirectional relationship often posited:

      • AT impacts negatively on citizenship (if not uniformly)

    • ‘Everyday’ experiences of the nexus often overlooked

  • Focus group research:

    • Location: Metropolitan/non-metropolitan

    • Self-designated ethnicity: Black, White, Asian

    • Public articulations of:

      • AT Powers, Security, Citizenship, and their interactions


Disconnected citizenship

Disconnected Citizenship?

  • Erosion of rights:

    • “these [anti-terrorism measures]…remove that freedom of individuals and it restricts the democracy we live in” (Oxford, White, Female)

  • Political engagement:

    • “I would love to change things, which is probably why I have a passion for politics. But right now I would rather keep my mouth shut…if you say anything bad about [anti-terrorism], it is literally monitored” (Oxford, Asian, Female)

  • Identity claims:

    • It doesn’t make me feel part of Britain as much as I did…I don’t feel as part of the British society” (Oldham, Asian, Female)

  • Troubling:

    • Widespread sense that AT does diminish the experience of citizenship

    • Also, contrasting experiences:

      • “All this is happening on a level that does not touch us” (Oldham, White, Male)

    • Yet, also examples of resistance to this diminishment…


Contesting anti terrorism policy

Contesting anti-terrorism policy

  • Explicit criticism:

    • “[Section 44 Powers are]…disgraceful. It means that any member of the security forces who has a grudge or a grievance, or a dislike or a prejudice can take it out” (Swansea, White, Male)

  • Expressions of agency and alternative politics:

    • “Our challenge to government, if this [transcript] is going to be released to them, I challenge them with all the things that I’ve said…Creating laws don’t solve problems…it needs a social agenda to solve the social problems” (London, Black, Female)


Refusing outsider victim subject positions

Refusing ‘outsider’/ ‘victim’ subject positions

  • On racism and discrimination

    • “…we can’t judge everybody the same, call everybody a racist, just as other people can’t judge us all the same and call us terrorists” (Birmingham, Asian, Male)

  • Refusals of victimhood:

    • “…the minute you start feeling subjugated, then that affects you” (Birmingham, Asian, Male)

  • Denials of outsider status:

    • “I don’t feel like there is a them and us…If I go to a meeting and there are no other Muslims there I don’t think there I’m a Muslim, there are no Muslims here” (London, Asian, Male)


Resisting withdrawal

Resisting withdrawal

  • Calls for (mainstream) political engagement:

    • “There needs to be a shift in our psyche…to recognise that change happens slowly, and if we’re aggrieved there are, through these shadowy democratic processes, methods of redressing those” (Birmingham, Asian, Male)

    • “Let’s go into politics, let’s do my degree in politics, or lets do my conversion in politics, let me get into there” (London, Asian, Female)

  • Accepting risk:

    • “…part of being a liberal is that you accept that there are certain consequences to freedom, and there are certain negative consequences of having freedom, in that there will always be nutters out there that will cause terror” (London, White, Female)


Conclusion i

Conclusion (I)

  • AT impacts on experiences of citizenship in different ways:

    • Widespread sense of targeting/discrimination

    • Self-censorship, political withdrawal, unease

  • Yet, also:

    • Explicit critique of AT measures

    • Imagined alternatives

    • Continuing faith in multiculturalism

    • Refusals to self-identify as ‘outsiders’ or ‘victims’


Conclusion ii

Conclusion (II)

  • These resistances connect to the terrain of citizenship:

    • Equality of treatment and the importance of mainstream political participation.

  • Experiences of the state, and of citizenship, key:

    • “…if I was mistakenly identified, I think I would have enough access to legal counsel…I still have to go through a trial…a completely fair and proper trial process” (London, Asian, Female)

  • AT/Citizenship relationship co-constitutive and multi-directional.


  • 9 september 2013

    Thanks for listening!

    Full paper:

    Jarvis, L. & Lister, M. (Forthcoming, 2013) ‘Disconnection and resistance: anti-terrorism and citizenship in the UK’, Citizenship Studies 17(6-7): 727-740.


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