Hybrid (Counter-) Terrorism: New Chapter

In March 2014 I spoke at a workshop at the University of Birmingham on the idea of hybridity. At the time, as this post shows, I was somewhat skeptical of what the concept of hybridity (as lens, or frame, or otherwise) might have to bring to law and, especially, to counter-terrorism and the law. However, the workshop got me thinking and next year (2016) an edited book from the workshop will be released for which I wrote a chapter building on my intervention at the workshop.

The chapter was written in the fall of 2014, and may be revised before finalisation of the manuscript to take account of post-Paris developments, but it brings together in a short form some of my key thoughts about hybrid (counter-) terrorism. I have uploaded the pre-print here, and the introduction gives a flavour:

Legal scholars have written much about different ‘models’ of counter-terrorism, with the ‘criminal justice’ and ‘military’ models dominating the discourse. However, these models of counter-terrorism law and its place within a broader ecosystem of counter-terrorism measures, policies and practices, fail to appreciate the breadth, complexity and drivers of counter-terrorism when viewed in the round. Indeed, this is indicative of legal scholarship on counter-terrorism, which tends (in contrast to some sociological scholarship in the field) to focus almost exclusively on doctrinal legal research, infrequently placing counter-terrorist law and policy within its broader context. In this, hybridity may be a helpful lens through which to view counter-terrorism law and practice; it may facilitate our understanding of counter-terrorism as a field of practice with multiple limbs and elements, indicating more fully the terrain on which critical engagement with terrorism and counter-terrorism ought to focus. This chapter aims to illustrate the hybrid nature of terrorism and counter-terrorism as mechanisms of resistance within asymmetrical power relationships and, through considering its combination of measures and engaged actors, to illustrate the critical usefulness of conceptualizing counter-terrorism as a hybrid phenomenon.

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