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Policy-making, paradigms and change: The origins of the Prevent counter terrorism policy in Great Britain between 2001 and 2011

Hammonds, William (2018) Policy-making, paradigms and change: The origins of the Prevent counter terrorism policy in Great Britain between 2001 and 2011. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the development of the Prevent counter terrorism policy between 2001 and 2011 to understand the extent to which it represented a change in policy and why. Prevent was an important element of the UK government’s response to the threat from home-grown al-Qaeda terrorism following 9/11 and the associated political conflict over Islam and the Muslim community. The study argues that the development of Prevent can be understood through two competing models of the relationship between government and society, one centralised and coercive the other distributed and consensual that are based on the traditions of Hobbes and Locke. The combination of both models by the Labour government produced a new framework for decision-making that enabled government to deliver short-term security objectives by embedding these in a longer term process of social change. However, whilst this dual approach enabled a broader response to terrorism it also came at the cost of increased conflict over decision-making that ultimately motivated a narrowing of the agenda. The study analyses decision-making through different lenses in order to understand the reasons why Prevent developed in this way. The study was based on a qualitative analysis of semi-structured elite interviews with a small targeted sample of individuals involved in decision-making, alongside primary documentation, to examine explicit and implicit influences on the process. It presents an in-depth narrative account that identified the main decisions, including both formal and informal decisions as well as relevant exogenous and endogenous inputs into the process. It then examines the influence of the decision-making community, including the structure of the relationship between central government, local agencies and civil society. The study then explored how ideas and arguments about the causes of terrorism helped to integrate the competing models of security and the associated trade-offs between the two. The study concludes by examining whether this process represented a paradigmatic change in policy and the lessons that can be drawn about policy change more generally.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Government; decision making; public policy; Prevent; extremism; terrorism; radicalisation; security; integration; civil society; the state; Hobbes; Locke; paradigms; case study
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: William Hammonds
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 09:45
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 10:19
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23317

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