There is some evidence that, in the UK, current counter terrorism initiatives reproduce and amplify both real and imagined differences between Muslim and anti-Muslim groups, leading in turn to social and community polarisation and isolation. It is far from clear whether these changing perceptions always lead to increased ethnic and religious violence or increased radicalisation. However, more worrying is the potential for the development of ‘soft harms’ among those ‘suspect communities; for example reduced social integration, withdrawal from British cultural life, hate crime, forced marriage and domestic violence. There has to date been little interrogation of the scale of ‘soft harm’ among Muslim communities. Within this paper, the author offers a qualitative review of how the Muslim ‘other’ has become an ascribed category reproduced through an endemic ‘Mulsim common sense’. Following that the author suggests that Twitter analytics may be harnessed to analyse the attitudes, current condition, and reactions of suspect other communities through the tweeting of everyday events. The aim in doing so is to develop a series of proposals to counter the ideological underpinnings of difference and contribute to current debates on counter terrorism policy in the UK.
Carter, D. M. (2017). (De)constructing difference: a qualitative review of the ‘othering’ of UK Muslim communities, extremism, soft harms, and Twitter analytics. Behavioral Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 9(1), 21-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/19434472.2016.1236142