Countering violent extremism, governmentality and Australian Muslim youth as 'becoming terrorist'

Randa Abdel-Fattah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores how a ‘regime of truth’ about Muslim youth has been historically produced through the underlying logic of Australia’s counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) policies and practices. The article is divided into three parts. I first look at how the pre-emptive logic of countering the ‘becoming terrorist’ constitutes young Australian Muslims. I then interrogate the way CVE has constituted Australian Muslims as a self-contained space, a governmental population divided between ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’. Lastly, I discuss how CVE operates as a technique of governmentality in the way that it deploys grants programs to foster the ‘conduct of conduct’ of Muslim subjects within this self-contained racialised space. I argue that the central organising logic of community partnership has been the targeting of the conditions of emergence of ‘extremist’ Muslim subjects, thereby guaranteeing the racialisation of Muslim youth as always at-risk, marked with the ‘potential’ of ‘becoming terrorist’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-387
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • countering violent extremism
  • Foucault
  • Islamophobia
  • Muslims
  • radicalisation


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