'Why should we have to prove we're alright?': Counter-terrorism, risk and partial securities

Gabe Mythen, Sandra Lyn Walklate, Fatima Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Under the auspices of the 'war against terrorism', New Labour's period of political governance in the UK was characterized by an activist, pre-emptive approach to (inter)national security. This approach was domestically embedded in specific counter-terrorism measures such as extensions to detention without charge, the expansion of stop and search measures and the deployment of control orders. Situated in this context, this article analyses the reflections of a group of young British Pakistani Muslims living in the north-west of England. First, we detail the process of risk subjectification through which institutional labelling narrowly defines Muslims as threatening and dangerous. Second, we consider the consolidation of practices of self-surveillance through which young Muslims seek to protect themselves and deflect stigmatization. In conclusion, we suggest that counter-terrorism policies have succeeded in reproducing a state of partial securities in and through which certain groups are protected and 'others' exposed to scrutiny and hostility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-398
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • counter-terrorism
  • Muslim minority groups
  • risk
  • security

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