War on Terror

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“New terrorism” (Mythen & Walklate 2005, p.382; Mythen & Walklate 2008, p.224), in a post September 11th 2001 (9/11) climate, attacks every aspect of human existence and is “typified by the actions of extreme Islamic fundamentalist groups such as al Qaeda – it is said to be distinct from the forms of terrorism practised by traditional terrorist organisations such as ETA and the IRA” (Mythen & Walklate 2005, p.382). This essay intends to address the social issue of new terrorism through the application of Ulrich Beck’s World Risk Society Thesis which premises upon the idea that we have entered a “world of uncontrollable risk and we don’t even have a language to describe what we are facing. ‘Uncontrollable risk’ is a contradiction in terms. And yet it is the only apt description for the second order, unnatural, human-made, manufactured uncertainties and hazards beyond boundaries we are confronted with” (Beck 2002, p.41). The risk approach to the issue of new terrorism endeavours to examine the construction of terrorism as a global risk through the current political dialogue, and additionally through Michel Foucault’s Governmentality Thesis to provide an analysis of the current counter terrorism strategies employed by governments universally, which inevitably fixate on protections against social bads. The subsequent discussion of Ulrich Beck’s World Risk Society Thesis and Michel Foucault’s Governmentality Thesis will demonstrate the ability of these approaches to provide a heightened understanding of the social issue of new terrorism. New terrorism entails actions by groups that are defined by their “amorphous aims, disparate organization and capacity to strike across different continents” (Mythen & Walklate 2005, p.382), and a... ... middle of paper ... ... Punishment & Society, vol.10, no. 4, pp.355-374. Beck, U 2002, ‘The terrorist threat: World risk society revisited’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol.19, no. 4, pp.39-55. Aradau, C 2007, ‘Governing terrorism through risk: Taking precautions, (un)knowing the future’, European Journal of International Relations, vol.13, no.1, pp.89-115. Mythen, G & Walklate, S 2005, ‘Criminology and terrorism: Which thesis? Risk Society? Governmentality?’, British Journal of Criminology, vol. 46, no. 3, pp.379-398. Mythen, G & Walklate, S 2008, ‘Terrorism, risk and international security: The perils of asking “what if?”’, Security Dialogue, vol. 39, no. 2-3, pp.221-242. Mythen, G, Walklate, S & Khan, F 2009, ‘“I’m a Muslim, but I’m not a terrorist”: Victimisation, risky identities and the performance of safety’, British Journal of Criminology, vol. 49, no. 6, pp.736-754.

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