University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Security Seminar > Bad men, good men, and loving women: Gender Constructions in the UK’s Online Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Campaign

Bad men, good men, and loving women: Gender Constructions in the UK’s Online Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Campaign

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The United Kingdom is widely considered a world leader in its counterterrorism (CT), countering violent extremism (CVE) and preventing violent extremism (PVE) campaigns. The Action Counters Terrorism Campaign is a public-facing campaign of the UK government aimed at raising the general public’s awareness of how it can support its CT/CVE/PVE efforts. A narrative analysis of the campaign’s YouTube channel (2017-2020) reveals a clear dominant narrative that “ordinary people” can assist in CT/CVE/PVE by being alert and following basic rules (such as Run, Hide, Tell). A gendered narrative analysis reveals far more surprising results: The terrorist threat is understood as exclusively male and only men are viewed as at risk of radicalization. Women are predominantly portrayed in relation to men in their lives (wives, mothers). Through their love and care, women can support efforts to save them by noticing when “something is wrong.” Offering an original methodological approach, this article reveals how the gendered constructions of the British awareness campaign are so engrained in powerful understandings of gender and political violence that they ignore even widespread public security debates, such as those surrounding British girls and women who traveled to Iraq/Syria to join DAESH .

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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