Charlotte Heath-Kelly visits NUPI to shed light on how critical approaches depart from the causal analysis of what causes terrorism and focus instead on how counterterrorism is organised through structures of knowledge, meaning and power. Critical methodologies become important when one wants to know: ‘how did society come to be organised this particular way, rather than others?’, ‘who benefits?’ and ‘what are the ethical consequences of this policy?’

The presentation outlines common features and methodologies of critical research as well as an explanatory case study. The international acceptance of Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programmes, and the idea of radicalisation processes, will be explored through critical methodology. It will also present the global expansion of these policies despite limited scientific evidence for their reliability. The presentation will explore the political turning points which enabled policymakers to turn away from established structural explanations of terrorism (state violence, poverty, political opportunity structure) and towards the vague psychological indicators of radicalisation toolkits.

Charlotte Heath-Kelly is an Associate Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. Her research explores the integration of counterterrorism into European health and social care programs. She has recently completed a Wellcome Trust funded study of the Prevent Strategy in the UK's National Health Service, which trains doctors and nurses to identify potential radicals for the state. She has published five books on terrorism, counter-terrorism and critical methodologies within Politics and International Relations - as well as seventeen peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Security Dialogue, International Political Sociology and Political Geography.

To further encourage the debate, we have invited Thomas Hegghammer to join the seminar as a discussant. Hegghammer is an academic specialist on violent Islamism. He is currently senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and adjunct professor of political science at the University of Oslo. Dr. Hegghammer is the author and co-author of several  books, including Jihadi Culture (Cambridge 2017), Jihad in Saudi Arabia (Cambridge 2010), al-Qaida in its own words (Harvard 2008), and The Meccan Rebellion (Amal 2011).

This seminar will be moderated by Senior Research Fellow at NUPI, Rita Augestad Knudsen, and it is hosted by the Consortium for Research on Terrorism and International Crime.