Responding to Prevent 2011

Accessible and informed critical comment for those wanting to make up their own minds about the approach, assumptions, priorities and impact of the government’s revised Counterterrorism policy: Prevent Strategy 2011



A Top Down Approach
by Basia Spalek

Asks how the Prevent Strategy fares against community based and community engaging approaches and finds the government’s top down strategy lacking and potentially stigmatising.  Read here


Values and Stakeholders in the 2011 Prevent Strategy
by Lee Jarvis and Michael Lister

Draws on focus group voices and findings to illustrate two key concerns with the Prevent strategy: British values and security stakeholders.  Read here


Against Compacency
by Chris Allen

Challenges the rhetoric on campus radicalism and argues that universities cannot be complacent in rejecting lazy and overly simplistic ‘solutions’ to preventing violent extremism.  Read here


The Failed Paradigm of Prevent
by Richard Jackson

Finds the government’s Prevent thinking conceptually confused and ambgiguous and its approach to radicalisation lacking in evidence and research, and recommends that the government abandons any elements of the new Prevent strategy which seek to restrict speech and embarks instead on an alternative ‘Radicalisation Programme’ of engaged citizenship.  Read here

New Prevent: Different Is Not Necessarily Better
by Derek McGhee

Assesses the attempt to distance “New Prevent from “Old Prevent” and its failings, and finds that while the overall message is that the Home Office under the Coalition Government are going to “do” Prevent differently to Labour, different does not necessarily mean better.  Read here


Social Cohesion and Counter-Terrorism: The Duck Test on Prevent
by M.Y. Alam

Finds that in the revised strategy the blurring of Cohesion and Prevent has become even more insidious and counter-productive.  Read here


Neo-Conservative Ideology Trumps Academic Research and Practitioner Experience
by Bob Lambert

Reviews the charge of Lambertism and concludes that in PreventThink Neo-Conservative Ideology Still Trumps Academic Research and Practitioner Experience.  Read here


 Gender Matters
by Katherine E. Brown

Foregrounds the gendered framing of Prevent thinking and strategy and the instrumental use of women’s issues and Muslim women.  Read here


‘It is Art, Not Science’: The Revised Prevent Strategy
by Darren Thiel

Argues that  the new strategy does not present any evidence to reinforce its revisions and is on balance more a rhetorical act of reassurance to quell right wing press politicised critique of Prevent.  Read here


 The New Prevent Strategy: Still Lots To Learn
by Fahid Qurashi

Argues that the review process has not only manifestly failed to address and redress criticism of the Prevent programme, but demonstrates in its new strategy a poor intellectual understanding of the phenomenon of radicalisation and the will to seriously tackle its main drivers.  Read here


How to Prevent Strategy
by Scott Poynting

Damningly concludes that the revised Prevent Strategy is as ideological in its assumptions as it is sloppy in its argument, and that it protests rather too much its support for individual freedoms, academic freedom, and the like, while chillingly set to undermine them.  Read here


A Step In The ‘Right’ Direction?
by Nigel Copsey

Argues that the revised Prevent deserves credit for recognising that violent extremism is an issue that affects white non-Muslim communities as well and acknowledging the need for more understanding of far-right extremism. It is at least a step in the right direction. Whether it is a small step or something more significant remains to be seen.  Read here


Prevent Deja Vu
by Sadek Hamid

As a researcher and trainer who was engaged in the education of professionals delivering the former Prevent programme, and is well aware of its failings, Hamid concludes that the ConDem Coalition has missed an opportunity to do something truly ”radical” such as addressing the criticism of the failures of Prevent.  Alas, Its dejá vu all over again: with Prevent, and with the critique of Prevent .  Read it here 


Extremism, Islamophobia and Muslim Converts
by Leon Moosavi

Drawing on extensive research, dispells three myths about converts and radicalisation which underpin Prevent thinking on Islam and Muslims and citizenship more broadly.    Read it here


Prevent On Campus: The Flipside
by Rizwaan Sabir

The fact that universities cannot be held to account for their actions, as the Nottingham case highlights, opens the door for serious, even criminal, misconduct, to go unpunished. The Prevent strategy is problematic in all its dimensions, but selecting university managers, bureaucrats  and administrators to specifically work within a highly controversial and politically-sensitive context shows how British universities have been transformed from cosmopolitan milieus of opposing ideas and beliefs to highly securitised institutions that are committed, not to academic freedom, freedom of thought or debate, but to detecting and spying on students, simply because they “may”, one day, become terrorists or extremists.  Read it here