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Volume 1

The Paradox of Counterterrorism: Exploring How State Security Harms People’s Security, Through a Critical Analysis of Terrorism.

Calixthe Blain


This paper analyses terrorism and counterterrorism to argue that the security of the state does not translate to the security of the people. Drawing on securitisation theory, it demonstrates that counterterrorism measures aimed at securing the state often undermine the security of the people they claim to protect. The argument is illustrated and supported by an attached case study of terrorism and counterterrorism in France in 2015. The essay explores how terrorism has been securitised. It then explains how emergency counterterrorism measures, intended to safeguard state security, can adversely affect the security of individuals. This paper examines how terrorism enables political actors to implement extraordinary measures, driven by a logic of state securitisation, which can be harmful to people’s security. This is further enhanced by the discursive construction of terrorism, which shapes public responses and policy in ways that harm people’s security. This includes the restriction of daily liberties and human rights, the fostering of racism, and the alienation of minority groups. Finally, the essay considers how state terrorism challenges the notion that state security guarantees people’s security.

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