9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN22 Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Terror - Security I Building I, 2E3

"Prevention of Terror", or "Terror of Prevention"? Victimization, Risk and Regulation Amongst Young British Muslims

Since the events of the 11th September 2001, Muslim minority groups have been subjected to pervasive scrutiny in the UK. The July 7th 2005 attacks committed by British nationals have led to young Pakistani males in particular being party to intensified modes of monitoring, surveillance and intervention by crime and security agencies. The introduction of multiple forms of counter-terrorism regulation by the State has been underpinned by discourses of (in)security - promulgated in media and political spheres - which have defined British Muslims en bloc as a risky, suspect population. Widespread concerns have been raised about the ways in which counter-terrorism regulations have impacted on the rights and liberties of ethnic minority groups. Young British Pakistanis in particular are presently maintaining their identities in an environment in which they are simultaneously cast as a threat to national security and invited to integrate more readily with "core British values". Against this wider backdrop, this paper presents the findings from a study investigating the effects of victimization and marginalization on identity construction amongst young British Muslims in the North-West of England. In this paper we elaborate three focal themes from our study. Firstly, we examine the ways in which media representations of Muslims are connected to wider stereotypes that present Muslims as "other". Second, we elucidate the ways in which young British Muslims have been subject to deeper forms of racist victimization as a consequence of their amplified risk status in relation to national security. Finally, we explore the wider consequences of this victimization for identity management, free movement and social engagement in the public sphere.