Christopher Baker-Beall


This article argues that the EU counter-terrorism policy reflects a deep-rooted mistrust or fear of the ‘migrant other’. The first half of the article focuses on the discursive construction of terrorism and the concept of securitisation. Drawing on Foucault and in line with scholars such as Campbell (1992), Milliken (1999) and Hülsse and Spencer (2008) the concept of discourse advocated here is one that is above individual discourse participant; the EU is a place where power/knowledge meets and is refracted back into social and political life. An alternative conception of securitisation is offered in order to demonstrate the processes involved in the discursive construction of the ‘migrant other’ as a security threat. The second half of the article will identify two meta-narratives linked to the construction of the ‘migrant other’ within the EU counter-terrorism policy. The first of these narratives constructs the ‘terrorist other’ as a threat to the globalised, ‘open’ society of the EU. This has the implicit effect of constructing and conflating the ‘migrant other’ with the threat of terrorism. The second meta-narrative that will provide the focus of analysis is a contingency-based discourse that constructs the ‘migrant other’ as in need of control in order to prevent the possibility of future terrorist attacks. Having identified these two narratives they will then be subject to a first and second level critical discourse analysis in order to analyse how discursive practices work internally within the EU counter-terrorism policy texts; and the broader political and ethical consequences of the discursive representations identified within the texts. The article concludes by arguing that the impact of the discursive construction of EU counter-terrorism policy is the securitisation of migration and asylum policy and the normalisation of the ‘migrant other’ as a security threat.


Article Keywords

Biopower, Critical Discourse Analysis, EU Counter-Terrorism Policy, Governmentality

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