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Colonial Law and Normal Violence: The Racialised, Gendered and Classed Development of Counter Terrorism

Finden, Alice Ella



In this chapter Finden explores the colonial characteristics of counter terrorism in Britain and Egypt. This chapter argues that counter terrorism laws and policies in both Global North and Global South states should be understood as fragmented authoritarian tools that have developed through power struggles between colonial and postcolonial states, manifesting through the securitisation of racialised, gendered and classed communities. Theoretically, this approach hinges upon viewing authoritarianism not as exceptional in liberal democracies, nor as a corrosion of liberal values such as the rule of law, but instead upon viewing violence and the law as co-constitutive. This chapter utilises feminist, postcolonial and critical legal theories to present a conceptualisation of counter terrorism that has been built upon hierarchical colonial law. Using archival research from British-occupied Egypt, Finden analyses legal moments where hierarchical thinking was enacted and institutionalised through the law. This chapter thereby shows the continuities between contemporary Egyptian law-making and colonial notions of pre-emption. Through an exploration of everyday forms of violence in law-making, Finden shows how contemporary counterterrorism is dependent upon the production of categories of difference and classifications of suspicion.


Finden, A. E. (in press). Colonial Law and Normal Violence: The Racialised, Gendered and Classed Development of Counter Terrorism. In Global Counterterrorism: A Decolonial Approach. Manchester: Manchester University Press

Acceptance Date Aug 16, 2023
Deposit Date Aug 17, 2023
Publisher Manchester University Press
Book Title Global Counterterrorism: A Decolonial Approach
Keywords Coloniality, counterterrorism, war on terror, Egyptian law, pre-emptive governance
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