‘As a woman…’; ‘As a Muslim…’: Subjects, positions and counter-terrorism powers in the United Kingdom

Lee Jarvis, Michael Lister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents findings from original focus group research on the importance of identity claims within public understandings of counter-terrorism across the UK. Following a review of existing literature on the terrorism/counter-terrorism/identity nexus, the article introduces four prominent subject positions inhabited within public articulations of counter-terrorism powers: the ‘Muslim’, the ‘target’, the ‘woman’ and the ‘unaffected’. Positions such as these, we argue, both enable and inhibit particular normative, political and anecdotal claims about counter-terrorism frameworks and their impact upon the body politic. This, we suggest, is demonstrative of the co-constitutive role between counter-terrorism and identity claims. Thus, on the one hand, counter-terrorism initiatives work to position individuals socially, politically, and culturally: (re)producing various religious, ethnic and other identities. Yet, at the same time, specific subject positions are integral to the articulation of people’s attitudes toward developments in counter-terrorism. The article concludes by thinking through some of the implications of this, including for resistance toward securitising moves and for citizenship more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-267
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017


  • counter-terrorism
  • terrorism
  • identity
  • subjectivity
  • religion
  • ethnicity
  • gender

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