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Trust Your Instincts – Act! A Critical Examination of PREVENT, Risk and Affect.

Dresser, Paul (2017) Trust Your Instincts – Act! A Critical Examination of PREVENT, Risk and Affect. In: Critical Studies on Terrorism Conference: From Counter-Terrorism to Preventing/Countering Violent Extremism? The Global Governance of Political Violence, 04-05 Sep 2017, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne. (Unpublished)

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


In 2011, PREVENT - as part of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy - was (re)formatted around the notion of ‘risk’. Despite this, there is a dearth in research which provides a precise depiction of how risk is operationalised and performs beyond fixed indictors which pre-figure terrorism. Further, analyses which illuminate how PREVENT policing is (re)configured, implemented and actualised are lacking. It is such gaps this paper attends. Informed by empirical data collected during semi-structured interviews with PREVENT police officers, this paper highlights the decisional logic through which risk is, in one way, operationalised. With a specific focus on the reporting stage of PREVENT, this paper posits two interwoven claims. First, police officers, police staff and institutional partners (as well as the lay public) are advised to trust instinctive risk feeling(s) as the underlying informational basis for PREVENT(ive) action. Second, decisional subjectivity based on ‘gut-feeling(s)’ is a significant depoliticising impetus in the context of sovereign decision-making. Accordingly, the paper draws attention to the importance of theorising ‘affect’ and ‘emotion’ to make sense of this epistemic shift within pre-emptive counter-terrorism. Finally, whilst the officers’ accounts are inherently unique and subjective, the empirical data is supported by an interrogation of counter-radicalisation policy, PREVENT briefing documents and national counter-terrorism agendas.

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Working Paper Critical Studies on Terrorsim Conference 2017 Final.pdf - Accepted Version

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Depositing User: Paul Dresser


Item ID: 9730

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Paul Dresser: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2018 08:38
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2019 16:06


Author: Paul Dresser ORCID iD
Author: Paul Dresser

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society
Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology

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