Identifying potential terrorists: Visuality, security and the Channel project

Martin, Thomas (2018). Identifying potential terrorists: Visuality, security and the Channel project. Security Dialogue, 49(4) pp. 254–271.



This article analyses how British counter-radicalization policy in general, and the Channel project in particular, constitute individuals who are vulnerable to radicalization as visible, producing them as subjects of intervention. It thus asks, how can potential terrorists be identified and made knowable? The article first argues that to understand Channel, it is crucial to develop a conceptual account of the security politics of (in)visibilization that draws attention to the ways in which security regimes can, at times, function primarily through the production of regimes of (in)visibility. Using this approach, the article focusses on the role of ‘indicators’ as a technology of (in)visibilization. This role is central to the functioning of Channel, visibilizing certain subjects as threatening. Yet such a production is political. In bringing together a politics of care and a politics of identity, it is a regime of (in)visibility that produces new sites of intervention, contains significant potential consequences for the expression of certain identities, and raises new and troubling possibilities for how contemporary life may be secured.

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