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What would you do? Everyday conceptions and constructions of counter-terrorism. Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister l.jarvis@uea.ac.uk and mlister@brookes.ac.uk. Counter-terrorism and the everyday. Public conceptions of how terrorism should be countered:

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what would you do everyday conceptions and constructions of counter terrorism

What would you do? Everyday conceptions and constructions of counter-terrorism

Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister

l.jarvis@uea.ac.ukand mlister@brookes.ac.uk

counter terrorism and the everyday
Counter-terrorism and the everyday
  • Public conceptions of how terrorism shouldbe countered:
    • What CT strategies do publics identify and discuss?
    • How are these strategies framed and justified?
    • Why might the public imagination matter for security politics?
  • Focus group methodology:
    • Our question: ‘If you were in government what would you do about terrorism?’
    • Findings specific to, and situated in, this focus group context (see Jackson & Hall 2013).
that s what i would do if i was ruling britain today unfortunately i m not
‘That’s what I would do if I was ruling Britain today. Unfortunately I’m not’
  • Sheer difficulty of countering terrorism:
    • ‘It’s a massive question’ (London, white, male)
    • ‘I have absolutely no idea’ (London, white, female)
    • ‘I think even with time, I don’t think I’d know what to do’ (Oxford, white, female)
  • Seek better understanding/knowledge:
    • ‘Find out if there is a problem first. You know, is there genuinely a problem’ (Birmingham, Asian, male)
    • ‘If we sit down with a radicalised person, we will learn something from him’ (London, Asian, male)
    • ‘Call all the experts up…who are the social scientists that we’re calling?’ (London, black, female)
why should we care
Why should we care?
  • 2 possible objections
  • Publics might lack knowledge and influence
    • Yet, longstanding political enthusiasm for public participation in political decision-making (e.g. Lowndeset al 2001)
  • Discussion often extended some way beyond CT
    • Yet, our participants deemed their contributions relevant
on political disconnection
On political disconnection
  • 2 widespread claims to political disconnection:
    • Public disenchantment with mainstream politics
      • ‘large sections of the public are more distrustful, disengaged, sceptical and disillusioned with politics than ever before’ (Flinders 2010: 309).
    • Securitization diminishes public debate and scrutiny
  • Engaging with public imaginations:
    • Casts (some) doubt on each of these claims:
      • Neither disengaged nor disadvantaged
    • May shed light on how publics conceptualise (security) politics
    • Likely to impact on participants’ understanding of politics
thanks for your time
Thanks for your time!
  • Research project:
    • http://www.esrc.ac.uk/my-esrc/grants/RES-000-22-3765/read
  • Forthcoming book:
    • Jarvis, L. & Lister, M. (2015) Anti-terrorism, Citizenship and Security. Manchester: Manchester University Press.