The Securitization of Islam in Europe: Public debate, Policy, Identity and Citizenship

Tsagarousianou, R. 2018. The Securitization of Islam in Europe: Public debate, Policy, Identity and Citizenship. Blackwell Publishers.

TitleThe Securitization of Islam in Europe: Public debate, Policy, Identity and Citizenship
AuthorsTsagarousianou, R.
Abstract

The manuscript comprises a critical exploration of the ways in which European Muslims have been constructed as an existential threat for European societies in a host of ongoing public debates about immigration, social cohesion and diversity, cultural identity and public safety. It does so by focusing on key aspects of the discourse(s) of key political and cultural actors, media representations and public policy at national level in six European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK) as well as the European Union institutions over the past two decades (from the mid-1990s, through to the post-9/11 period to today).
It traces the progressive transformation and escalation of perceptions of Muslims in Europe over this period from an ‘exotic presence’ to bearers of values, cultural traits and political predispositions deemed radical, threatening and incompatible to European values and way of life as well as the progressive convergence of discourses and policies related to the above issues within and across country borders.

This reconfiguration of the relationship between the European societies examined and their sizeable Muslim minorities is analysed through the lens of securitization theories (Buzan et al 1998, Floyd 2007 but also through recourse to Foucault’s notions of biopolitics and discipline) that put an emphasis on the social construction of societal insecurity and allow us to draw attention to and examine the political struggles that underpin particular articulations of threat and security in different social-historical contexts.

As discussions about fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression that are thought to be threatened - not only by islamist extremism but also by Muslim assertiveness - converge with debates about surveillance, immigration restrictions and management and, as issues of identity and citizenship are becoming inextricably linked with questions of ‘loyalty’, social cohesion and security, the book engages with such important societal debates in a a timely and critical manner and seeks to critically examine attempts by European governments to evaluate the effectiveness of previous policies and articulate new ones. It is argued that when the spectre of radicalization of young Muslims prompts knee-jerk reactions it is imperative to unpack and better understand the public debate and the role it has in informing political decisions.
The presentation of the data collected and their analysis combine a historical and thematic narrative as the author felt it was important to (i) provide a genealogical approach to the key current public debate and policy areas, (ii) demonstrate how interlinked apparently distinct discussions are.

The book finally considers the implications of the discourses and policies examined as far as the understanding of contemporary European identity and citizenship are concerned and draws upon extensive archival and media discourse analysis as well interviews with opinion leaders and policy makers. As such, It is the first book that provides an extensive, systematic, comparative, cross-national and Europe-wide examination of the transformation of perceptions of the position and implications of the presence of Muslim communities in Europe.

KeywordsSecuritization, Islam, Muslim communitities, Diasporas, Surveillance, Citizenship, identitty
Year2018
PublisherBlackwell Publishers

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