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Neoliberal Terror? The Radicalisation of Social Policy in Europe

Question 1: What is the scope of the project? How are health and social care workers involved in counter-terrorism?


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.

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.

Question 2: Is there a neoliberal counter-terrorism regime in Europe?


Qualitative research shows that pre-crime interventions on potential offenders were often introduced by left-of-centre political parties in Europe. Youth mentoring and multi-agency support structures were ways to effect social justice, in an international economic system dominated by neoliberalism. So, counter-radicalisation has a left-of-centre origin.

However, there are signs that neoliberal and right-of-centre states are expanding counter-radicalisation programs within a broader integration and social control framework - often stigmatising racialised communities. We are undertaking a quantitative analysis of the expansion of counter-radicalisation programs across 40 countries, to test if there is an association between neoliberal economic policy and the expansion of counter-terrorism in the social field.

Question 3: Who are the team?


The Primary Investigator: Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly Previous projects: Counter-radicalisation within the UK's NHS (Wellcome Trust funded). Also led projects funded by ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust, and is currently collaborating with colleagues on projects funded by the University of Sheffield and the Norwegian Research Council.

Dr Sadi Shanaah completed PhD at the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University, and joins us as the Quantitative Research Fellow on the team.

Dr Maria Norris completed PhD at the London School of Economics, working there as a Teaching Fellow before joining us as Qualitative Research Fellow.