Safeguarding or Surveillance? Social Work, Prevent and Fundamentalist Violence

Cowden, Stephen ORCID: 0000-0002-2549-8760 and Picken, Jonathan (2019) Safeguarding or Surveillance? Social Work, Prevent and Fundamentalist Violence. Feminist Dissent, 4. pp. 91-131. doi:10.31273/fd.n4.2019.320

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This paper seeks to critically explore the construction of the Prevent counter-terrorism initiative within Social Work in the UK, and to consider the implications this has for Social Work. We begin by discussing the conceptualisation of ‘radicalisation’ in the work of Arun Kundnani, one of the leading critics of Prevent, pointing to the limitations of this as a means of grasping the nature of Salafi-jihadi groupings. We then move to a discussion of the development of counter-terrorism policy in the UK, looking at the way the 2015 legislative guidance has re-situated radicalisation from a ‘security’ issue to a ‘safeguarding’ issue. We see this as significant for the way it has facilitated Social Work being directly drawn into the orbit of Prevent, with radicalisation being re-constructed as part of Social Work’s concern with the vulnerability of children and young people involved in wider forms of exploitation, including Child Sexual Exploitation. We consider the reception of this shift within Social Work as well as look at evidence into how this is working in practice. We then consider challenges to this ‘safeguarding’ paradigm, which argue that this has involved Social Work being drawn into the ideological monitoring of Muslim communities: a ‘surveillance’ paradigm. We conclude by arguing for a critical defence of a safeguarding approach based on the harms which fundamentalist violence clearly represents to children and young people.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Safeguarding; Surveillance; Social Work; Counter-terrorism; Salafi-Jihadism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Stephen Cowden
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 12:18
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2023 14:33

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