Understanding public constructions of counter-terrorism: an analysis of online comments during the state of emergency in France (2015-2017)

Ariane Bogain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article aims to analyse how lay members of the public conceptualised security politics in France within the context of the two-year-long state of emergency implemented after the Paris attack in November 2015. Building upon research on everyday narratives of security, this article examines the online comments written by readers of two major French newspapers on what should be done to counter terrorism. It first investigates the narratives constructed by the measures and policies they put forward, and second, whether the duration of the state of emergency affected them and, if so, how. It reveals the dominant conceptualisation of security as disciplining and taming the national body, with the Muslim migrant other and liberties the central elements to neutralise, and finds that this stance hardened over the period. This article argues that in challenging their authorities to go much further in their fight against terrorism, online readers not only legitimated their security discourse but also facilitated the existence of political subjects for the purpose of governmental logics, paving the way for authoritarian-driven and unfettered state power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-615
Number of pages25
JournalCritical Studies on Terrorism
Volume13
Issue number4
Early online date13 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

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