On becoming ‘radicalised’: Disturbing majoritarian discourses of ‘ideological risk’ and ‘psychological vulnerability’ amongst Muslim children and youth in the UK.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

In recent times, young British Muslims have become objects of the discursive construction of ‘vulnerability to radicalisation’. This is shaped by particular ideologically charged and contentious ideas about how ‘radicalisation’ allegedly takes place, alongside specific constructions of the ‘Islamic’ ‘child’. It is a process whereby essentialised ethnic and racial identities are married to equally problematic constructions of ‘childhood’ and children’s ‘mental health and wellbeing’. Devoid of meaningful social and political agency, divorced from the structural circumstances of their lived experiences, and problematised as ‘psychologically vulnerable’, young British Muslims are rendered as appropriate objects for state surveillance and intervention as ‘would-be-terrorists’. Dominant administrative discourses of ‘child protection’ and ‘safeguarding’ are currently being deployed to underpin this pre-emptive ethos, to produce the ‘Young British Muslim’ as both ‘suspect’ and in need of being ‘saved’. This paper is derived from an ongoing project focusing on critical analysis of the impact of counter-terrorism law, policy and practice on the lives of Muslim children and youth in the UK (Coppock, 2014; Coppock and McGovern, 2014). With reference to contemporary developments and high profile cases it will further critique and contest the assumptions and arguments within majoritarian discourse concerning the roots of ‘radicalisation’ and the nature of ‘psychological vulnerability’ that give legitimacy to pre-emptive practices of surveillance and intervention in the lives of British Muslim children and youth, ‘in their best interests’. Implications for the human rights of young British Muslims will be of central concern, alongside consideration of the implications for practitioners in education, health and social care that are expected to deploy these counter-terrorism measures on behalf of the state.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2015
EventInternational Summer Course on the Rights of the Child: The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents - Université de Moncton, Moncton, Canada
Duration: 5 Jul 201510 Jul 2015

Conference

ConferenceInternational Summer Course on the Rights of the Child: The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents
CountryCanada
CityMoncton
Period5/07/1510/07/15

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