After over two decades of renewing temporary counterterrorism laws in Britain from the early 1970s, making such measures permanent with the Terrorism Act 2000 was not necessarily a predictable or predetermined outcome. The Northern Ireland peace process was underway, the Labour party who had voted against temporary counterterrorism laws for over a decade was newly back in power, and historical context pointed to an inconclusiveness around how effective such laws actually were in reducing insecurity. In this article I argue a key element helping explain this transition from temporary to permanent counterterrorism law lies in how particular threat and referent identities were constructed in official British discourse. Drawing on empirical research from a relational-securitization analysis of official British discourses from the late 1960s to the present, this paper argues that processes of identity construction were essential to introducing and justifying the Terrorism Act 2000. The deployment of particular threat and referent labels established in discourse before events such as 9/11 or 7/7, such as “international” terrorism, helped enable the shift from counterterrorism law from temporary emergency response to permanent policy practice.
Fisher, K. (2011). Terrorist threat construction and the transition to permanent British counterterrorism law. Journal of Terrorism Research, 2(3), pp. 9-23.
Journal of Terrorism Research
This is an open access article published in Journal of Terrorism Research. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)