Managing belief and speech as incipient violence: 'I'm giving you the opportunity to say that you aren't'

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4 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that the spectre of ‘radicalised’ Muslim youth rejecting and threatening the ‘Australian way of life’ drives policy responses targeting young people in a biopolitical regime that is fundamentally about containing the political agency of Muslims and people of colour on the one hand, and containing political activism more broadly, on the other. In this article I offer a close reading of three key policy documents used in schools to make the argument that one of the fundamental goals of Australia's countering violent extremism (CVE) regime is the production of self-governing Muslim subjects who tailor their thoughts, beliefs and ideologies to the state's vision of religiosity, political agency, society and nation. I argue that despite policy-makers’ insistence that the war on terror criminalises violence not radical beliefs or speech, CVE's preventative, presumptive, disruptive mandate looks for potential danger, not actual danger. This ‘potentiality’ is located in suspected or actual disassociation from so-called normative Australian values and identity and renders problametic action and speech and belief.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-38
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • countering violent extremism
  • counter-radicalisation
  • race
  • Muslims


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