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Counterterrorism, political anxiety and legitimacy in postcolonial India and Egypt

Finden, Alice Ella; Dutta, Sagnik

Counterterrorism, political anxiety and legitimacy in postcolonial India and Egypt Thumbnail


Sagnik Dutta


The post 9/11 global proliferation of counterterrorism legislation is increasingly being interpreted as part of a longer story of colonialism. Scholars have shown how expansive counterterrorism can be interpreted not merely as an exceptional state of violence in situations where the rule of law and guarantees of ordinary civil liberties are suspended, but as a form of law-making that draws upon colonial logics and frameworks of governance. However, a major lacuna in this scholarship is the lack of attention to counterterrorism laws in postcolonial states and their negotiations with colonial logics of law-making. This article makes a postcolonial contribution to Critical Terrorism Studies and International Politics by showing how colonial logics of counterterrorism are repurposed by postcolonial states in comparable ways. By comparing counterterror laws in two postcolonial states, India and Egypt, this article shows how colonial logics intersect with nationalist ideologies, postcolonial anxieties, as well as an attempt by postcolonial states to seek international legitimacy post 9/11 vis-a-vis the war on terror. In both the postcolonial states, counterterror laws are weaponised to target civil society activists, journalists, and religious and ethnic minorities in comparable ways. This article, therefore, helps us challenge the centrality of 9/11 and state of exception/emergency in the framing of counterterror laws. Instead, it advances our knowledge of counterterrorism vis-à-vis postcolonial engagement with colonial epistemes and 'normal' practices of security.


Finden, A. E., & Dutta, S. (2024). Counterterrorism, political anxiety and legitimacy in postcolonial India and Egypt. Critical Studies on Terrorism,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 8, 2024
Online Publication Date Jan 23, 2024
Publication Date Jan 23, 2024
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jan 24, 2024
Journal Critical Studies on Terrorism
Print ISSN 1753-9153
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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