The 'Colour' in Counterterrorism
: A postcolonial analysis of racialisation in British and Canadian counterterror approaches

  • Amal Abu-Bakare

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil DoethurolDoethur mewn Athroniaeth


This thesis is a postcolonial theory-based empirical study of how logics of racialisation structure British and Canadian counterterrorism approaches. The main argument is that IR occupies a distinct position for facilitating an examination of the link between race as a structuring principle and the transnational processes of dispossession, violence, and struggle that emerge in its wake. This is verified, when counterterrorism is analysed as an emblem of IR knowledge production in the context of a conceptual framework defined by anti-imperial blackness. I create new knowledge by providing six different ways in which perceived to be Muslims are racialised in response to terrorist incidents. I explain how struggles over the meaning of national identity, political terror, and anti-racism that ensue in policymaking spaces, constitute a form of counterterrorism knowledge production. In turn, this produces a certain sort of IR knowledge that has transnational implications. These implications are demonstrated using a Duboisean research agenda inspired by William Edward Burghardt Du Bois’ argument of the colour line. By applying the Duboisean colour line to the problem that is the global actuality of the blackened Muslim in the Global North, I demonstrate the contemporary persistence of an imperial/racial world order. I then develop a comparative study of cases of British and Canadian governments responding to the 2013 murder of Lee
Rigby and the October 2014 terrorist attacks. These case studies are coupled with a thematic analysis of counterterrorism policy and legislation, and semi-structured interviews, findings from participant observation, and document analysis. This project concludes reflecting on the common trends observed during fieldwork performed in the United Kingdom and Canada, noting the trends of political action, anxieties, and resistance in counterterrorism discourse. I draw conclusions from these trends to make a final argument reiterating the importance of the intellectual traditions of academics of colour to IR.
Dyddiad Dyfarnu06 Tach 2020
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad Dyfarnu
  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrAlistair Shepherd (Goruchwylydd) & Lucy Taylor (Goruchwylydd)

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