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Neoliberal Terror: The Radicalisation of Social Policy in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NeoliberalTerror (Neoliberal Terror: The Radicalisation of Social Policy in Europe)

Reporting period: 2020-02-01 to 2021-07-31

In many countries, doctors, nurses and social workers are asked to report clients they feel might be radicalising. As this is not a traditional professional duty for care professionals, the Neoliberal Terror project will investigate how and why national security has become part of the professional duties of health and social care workers. This is important for society because the integration of security into caring professions has important consequences for healthcare ethics, the avoidance of stigmatisation and discrimination, and data protection. These changes also speak to potential shifts in foundational understandings of care, and security, in European societies.

We will study the history of crime prevention in Europe, with particular emphasis on programs which work with non-offenders to reduce their risk of becoming criminal. We will then study how these criminal policy agendas merged with counter-radicalisation in the twenty-first century. We will also qualitatively measure the integration of counter-radicalisation programs with healthcare systems in six European countries - evaluating and reflecting on how the medicalisation of national security has taken place in variegated contexts.

We will also create the first index of CVE implementation - and its scale - across European, North American and Australasian societies. This will be the first robust map of CVE policy which is attuned to fine-grained detail. We will then use the index to study the possible drivers of CVE implementation. This is important because, in Criminology, the argument is often made that neoliberal economics underpins the turn to risk-based, preventive policy. However, these studies commonly only look at penal policies in the Anglosphere. Our study has a broader remit and dataset, and allows us to explore the effects of economic policy, GDP, population demographics and previous terrorist attacks as factors in national decisions to implement CVE.

Our initial results show no association between neoliberal economic policy and the amount of counter-radicalisation implemented within a state. Neoliberal economics is not driving CVE implementation. However, other factors (such as the recent experience of terrorist attacks, and the size of minority ethnic populations) have a stronger association with the implementation of prevention policy.

Finally, we are exploring the role played by the EU, UN, OSCE and Council of Europe in the policy transfer of CVE between nations. Our archival work shows that most International Organisations were reactive to developments in Western European nation states - and did not play a leading role in developing CVE. However the OSCE archival records demonstrate fascinating, and very early, proto-CVE developments in the late 1990s, shedding new light on the history of CVE programs.
We will study the history of crime prevention in Europe, with particular emphasis on programs which work with non-offenders to reduce their risk of becoming criminal. We will then study how these criminal policy agendas merged with counter-radicalisation in the twenty-first century. We will also qualitatively measure the integration of counter-radicalisation programs with healthcare systems in six European countries - evaluating and reflecting on how the medicalisation of national security has taken place in variegated contexts.

We will also create the first index of CVE implementation - and its scale - across European, North American and Australasian societies. This will be the first robust map of CVE policy which is attuned to fine-grained detail. We will then use the index to study the possible drivers of CVE implementation. This is important because, in Criminology, the argument is often made that neoliberal economics underpins the turn to risk-based, preventive policy. However, these studies commonly only look at penal policies in the Anglosphere. Our study has a broader remit and dataset, and allows us to explore the effects of economic policy, GDP, population demographics and previous terrorist attacks as factors in national decisions to implement CVE.

Our initial results show no association between neoliberal economic policy and the amount of counter-radicalisation implemented within a state. Neoliberal economics is not driving CVE implementation. However, other factors (such as the recent experience of terrorist attacks, and the size of minority ethnic populations) have a stronger association with the implementation of prevention policy.

Finally, we are exploring the role played by the EU, UN, OSCE and Council of Europe in the policy transfer of CVE between nations. Our archival work shows that most International Organisations were reactive to developments in Western European nation states - and did not play a leading role in developing CVE. However the OSCE archival records demonstrate fascinating, and very early, proto-CVE developments in the late 1990s, shedding new light on the history of CVE programs.
We have created the first index of CVE policy implementation across 38 countries, through an expert survey with national policymakers and practitioners. We have used this index to test the drivers of CVE implementation - finding that neoliberal economic policy is not correlated with CVE (as criminological theses on pre-emptive policy suggest). Instead, experience of previous terrorist attacks and population demographics are positively associated with national CVE implementation. We continue to reflect on these findings, as they indicate racialised-suspicion as a partial driver of CVE implementation.

We have also undertaken extensive qualitative research into the development of crime prevention and counter-terrorism discourse in International Organisations. Our initial results are available on our project website. They demonstrate that crime prevention has long utilised anticipatory logics of intervention, but that this discourse did not transfer to counter-terrorism for many years - sometimes, decades. Our results also disrupt established timelines of the emergence of CVE policy in Western Europe from 2004. Instead, we find fascinating proto-CVE discussions and programs in the archival records of the OSCE, from the late 1990s.

We continue to study the medicalisation of counter-terrorism policy across six European nations, and - in the late stages of the project - we will explore individual experiences of referral to the UK's Prevent Strategy through documentary filmmaking.
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