Thomas, Paul (2015) A 'tainted brand'? Britain's Prevent programme. In: Islamic Extremism: Prevention and Deradicalisation Between Expextations and Realities, 3rd July 2015, Frankfurt, Germany. (Unpublished)

This presentation will provide a critical analysis of the impacts and effectiveness to date of Britain’s Prevent counter-terrorism programme. In charting the changes to and refinements of Prevent since its inception in 2007, the presentation will draw on ground-level research (both my own in the north of England and that of others) to explore how Prevent has been understood, experienced and implemented at the local level. It argues that, despite some positive aspects that have inevitably flowed from such a well-resourced programme, many local government practitioners and community members see Prevent as highly problematic, and even as a ‘tainted brand’, because of significant conceptual flaws in the programme. In particular, these flaws relate to Prevent’s overwhelming focus on Muslims as a distinct, essentialised community and Prevent’s resulting contradiction to Integration policies, its reliance on the highly-contested model of ‘radicalisation’ and the strong Police dominance that has inevitably securitised community relations. Above all, the paper questions the absence within Prevent of genuine programmes of anti-extremism education with young people – the paper argues that such education process offer the only meaningful routes to long-term collective and individual ‘resilience’ against extremism in society.

Paul Thomas Frankfurt Conference July 2015.pdf - Presentation

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