Naturalisation through mainstreaming Counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation in UN and EU discourse

Vitenskapelig artikkel

In the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, counter-terrorism was initially pursued throughout the world as a matter of exceptional ‘hard security’. International and national authorities generally position terrorism as a uniquely threatening phenomenon warranting delineated budgets, systems, and structures within the law enforcement and defence realms. However, with the growing focus on radicalisation as assumedly essential in leading to terrorism and counter-radicalisation as an ever more central part of counter-terrorism, its scope was expanded far beyond the ‘hard security’ field; counter-radicalisation enabled the growth and integration of counter-terrorism into ‘softer’ societal sectors. This chapter argues that this shift from a hard security framing of counter-terrorism to a broadening of its scope through a foregrounding of counter-radicalisation should be conceptualised as a process of ‘mainstreaming’. After explaining the concept of mainstreaming and how it captures this development, the chapter offers a brief discourse analysis of such mainstreaming through the lens of key official UN and EU counter-terrorism documents. On the basis of this investigation, the chapter finds that the discursive mainstreaming of counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation suggests their ‘naturalisation’.