Critical terrorism studies and the far-right: Beyond problems and solutions?

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Abstract

Recent years have witnessed increasing academic, media, and political attention to the threat of far-right terrorism. In this article, I argue that scholarship on this threat has suffered from two limitations, each with antecedents in terrorism research more broadly. First, is an essentialist approach to this phenomenon as an extra-discursive object of knowledge to be defined, explained, catalogued, risk assessed, and (ultimately) resolved. Second, is a temptation to emphasise, even accentuate, the scale of this threat. These limitations are evident, I argue, within scholarship motivated by a problem-solving aspiration for policy relevance. They are evident too, though, within critical interventions in which a focus on far-right terrorism is seen as an important corrective to established biases and blind spots within (counter-)terrorism research and practice. In response, I argue for an approach rooted in the problematisation and desecuritisation of the far-right threat. This, I suggest, facilitates important new reflection on the far-right’s production within and beyond terrorism research, as well as on the purposes and politics of critique therein.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Early online date6 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Far-right terrorism
  • critical terrorism studies
  • right wing terrorism
  • terrorism research
  • terrorism studies

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