The Politic of Everyday Counter-Terrorism: Online Performances and Responsibilities of the Prevent Duty in UK Higher Education Institutions

Keith Spiller, Andrew Whiting, Imran Awan, Ben Campbell

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The Prevent Duty mandates that public authorities must work to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. In this paper we review how 158 UK HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) have responded to this new duty by examining their public facing webpages and Prevent policy documentation. In doing this we draw upon de Certeau’s notions of the everyday to highlight how such initiatives are presented publicly to viewing audiences, and how messages seep into and deepen security measures within UK Higher Education. In reviewing the performative element of Prevent, specifically how information is displayed, we find that the majority of UK HEIs have approached their new roles through the prism of ‘compliance’ and/or ‘safeguarding’. The paper argues presentations of safeguarding, reassurance and reluctance offer a telling insight into how the Duty has been adopted in HEIs everyday practice.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date17 Nov 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2022


  • counterterrorism
  • de Certeau
  • Higher Education
  • Prevent Duty
  • Websites

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