Radicalisation in prison

Deliverable RP-05-2018. A rather important part of the literature dedicated to radicalisation within the prison environment is largely based on the underlying assumption that prison and prison’s experience are essentially a crucial place and moment in the causal and mechanical chain leading to extreme violence.

State of emergency in France

Deliverable AFFECT BR-03-2018 

Summary – The state of emergency measures are set out in a 1955 law and are designed to be used in “cases of imminent danger resulting from serious breaches of public order, or in case of events threatening, by their nature and gravity, public disaster”. The measures give a number of exceptional powers to the authorities, including the right to set curfews, limit the movement of people and forbid mass gatherings, establish secure zones where people can be monitored and close public spaces such as theatres, bars, museums and other meeting places. It also gives more powers to the security services and police, such as the right to conduct house searches at any time without judicial oversight, enforce house arrest and confiscate certain classes of weapons, even if people hold them legally.

Author: Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet

Date: December 2018

Language: French

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Prevention of radicalisation in Molenbeek

Deliverable AFFECT-RP-6-2018.

In contrast to the social, political and media-fueled stigmatisation which the district of Molenbeek and its residents have endured over the last few years, the general aim of the present research paper is to contribute to a better understanding of a thorny and still sensitive issue, and to develop a less emotionally charged and knee-jerk approach to the question of prevention of radicalisation.

Authors: Fabienne Brion, Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet & Foued Bellali

Date: November 2018

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ETA et le conflit au Pays Basque, un anachronisme ?

Dernière insurrection armée d’Europe occidentale et vestige encombrant d’un romantisme révolutionnaire dépassé pour les uns, résidu d’un groupe plus criminel que politique pour les autres, la vie et la fin de l’organisation indépendantiste Basque ETA paraissent, pour beaucoup, comme une sorte d’anachronisme. Et pourtant, avec ETA on parle ici d’une organisation clandestine qui a été non seulement au centre de l’agenda politique, policier et judiciaire espagnol – d’un régime dictatorial à une démocratie libérale européenne – mais aussi au cœur de la coopération policière et judiciaire franco-espagnole puis européenne.

Présentation d’Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet au colloque organisé par le GEPS et Politeia. GUITTET-Conference Politiea -sept.2016

Radical, radicalism and radicalisation

Deliverable AFFECT-RP4-2018. There has been considerable political and academic interest recently in studying ‘radicalisation’ and a multiplicity of research programmes aimed at developing alternative ways of engaging with the issue, evaluating strategies and suggesting policy directions. Very often, radical, radicalism and radicalisation are used as inseparable concepts, coherent entities and eloquent words. Yet, the threshold between holding ‘radical’ views and becoming violent is still the subject of many academic debates and it is not entirely certain that the notions of radical, radicalism and radicalisation really help to clarify and may even have contributed to obscure the scope of the debate. The term radicalisation is an unhelpful concept to understand the context, contents and mechanisms of recruitment, activism, violence and escalation. There is little hard evidence that proves interaction with violent and extreme content (videos and/or discourses) leads to participation in violent and extreme activities. People who become involved in violent activities are not suddenly converted to this path and then inherently stuck with a single-minded line of action. This process is gradual and it is an incremental dynamic full of uncertainty about what might be next. The unfortunately commonly-shared idea that extremism is nothing but the fatal conclusion of an ineluctable linear process is a crucial misunderstanding of the realities of violence. When besieged with emotional appeals, evocative imagery and threatening news, it is certainly not easy to disrupt this taken-for-granted assumption that violence and warfare are appropriate responses to violence. The question of whether such measures could contribute to increasing the risk of escalation of violence and the further exclusion of an already disenfranchised population seems almost forgotten.

Author: Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet

Date: November 2018

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Protection and support of victims of terrorism – EU Policy

Deliverable AFFECT BP-01-2018

Summary – The large-scale attacks on 9/11 resulted in more attention being devoted to victims of terrorist acts. Discussions took place on how their needs could be best accommodated. The Madrid bombings in March 2004, followed by the 2005 London bombings, the 2015 attacks in Paris and the 2016 bombing in Brussels gave further impetus to this process. The rights of victims are firmly grounded not only in EU primary and secondary law, but also in Council of Europe and United Nations (UN) instru­ments, as well as in national legislation. The EU has put in place a strong legal framework to protect victims across Europe since the 1990s onward. The present Briefing Paper is a short overview of the development of EU Terrorism victims’ Rights, with a particular focus on the 2004 compensation scheme, the 2012 Victims Rights’ Directive and the 2017 Directive on Combating Terrorism.

Author: Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet

Date: September 2018

Version: English

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Extraordinary Rendition: Addressing the challenges of Accountability

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre, Bigo, Didier, The quest for absolution and immunity: Justifying past and future torture in the name of democracy, Extraordinary Rendition: Addressing the challenges of Accountability, Guild Elspeth, Bigo, Didier & Mark Gibney (Dir.), Routledge, London, 2018, ISBN: 978-0-81538-7800, pages 202-229

The Feinstein Report is a sweeping indictment of not only the brutal practices deployed but also of the poor value of intelligence gleaned from these different exercises in torture. The 525-page executive summary of the Feinstein report reveals the brutal, systematic and sanctioned nature of this programme of extraordinary rendition and detention and provides graphic examples of the inefficiency of torture. On paper, one could say that the numerous lawyers and activists who have been advocating a strict prohibition of torture have won, but certainly not in a decisive and definitive manner. The release of the Feinstein report might be seen by some as a triumph, but any victory may prove to be Pyrrhic. A once prominent but now almost forgotten report against torture has been taken over by normalisation of torture where the justifications once deployed alongside the CIA-led extraordinary rendition and detention programme are still very much present and prevalent (Read more)

Les territoires du secret

Les territoires du secret : les sciences sociales face aux pratiques de confidentialité dans les mondes de la sécurité

Les entreprises de connaissance scientifique de la police, des forces armées, des corps diplomatiques et des services secrets se heurtent souvent à la contrainte du silence et à l’ensemble de ces pratiques discrétionnaires et de confidentialités inhérentes à ces métiers de la sécurité. Dans ces mondes où le secret est à la fois une règle de conduite intériorisée et un dispositif administratif ordonné et réglementé comme ensemble de pratiques concrètes de discrétion et d’occultation des mots, des informations et des savoir-faire, les modalités d’investigation et la marge de manœuvre scientifique sont souvent de facto limitées. Les recherches sociologiques sur les questions de sécurité font paradoxalement peu de place à l’analyse du secret en lui-même. Bien souvent, celui- ci est relégué au rang des précisions méthodologiques, où les chercheurs expliquent, souvent brièvement et ce même dans un cadre ethnographique, les difficultés rencontrées et les solutions trouvées pour générer une enquête de terrain viable. Des manuels de méthode proposent certes des ficelles et stratégies d’approche, mais, à nouveau, l’étude du fonctionnement même du secret, pourtant essentielle à son appréhension méthodologique, ne constitue pas le centre d’intérêt de ces publications.

À l’opposé d’une lecture qui fait du secret un savoir extraordinaire et de son détenteur un individu hors norme, cette journée d’étude entend mettre l’accent sur les dimensions ordinaires et structurantes du secret, de la discrétion et de la confidentialité dans ces mondes de la sécurité. À partir de recherches empiriques originales, cet évènement entend montrer comment le secret fonctionne comme outil de délimitation d’un champ de connivences, comme mode de valorisation ou de dévalorisation professionnelle, de classement et de distinction mais aussi comme forme de sociabilité au sein de ces mondes pluriels de la sécurité. En partant de différentes situations de recherche et en explorant différentes formes, modalités et mythologies du secret chez les professionnels de la sécurité, cette journée d’étude entend aussi exposer les stratégies mises en place par les chercheurs pour analyser des lieux confidentiels et faire parler des spécialistes de la discrétion.

JOURNÉE D’ÉTUDE​, Jeudi 24 mai 2018 de 10h30 à18h30

Université libre de Bruxelles – IEE – Salle Kant (39 avenue F. Roosevelt, 1050 Bruxelles)

Gendered political violence

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre, Gendered political violence? Female militancy, conduct and representation under question, International Feminist Journal of Politics (IFJP), 20(2), 2018, pages 274-281

After a period of relative absence of work on the issue, the range and number of publications examining female involvement in militant organisations with a more critical eye has certainly increased since the 2000s. This increasing academic interest in women and terrorism is certainly consistent with a rise in public concern for the multiplicity of cases of female suicide bombers reported in the media. It is also consistent with the steady development of a welcome feminist alternative literature in International Relations since the 1990s. (read more)….

Questioning the framework for private security terror responses

Deliverable AFFECT-RP-01-2018

Summary – The aim of this research paper is to question the growing interdependence of the private and public sectors in tackling present-day security challenges, with a specific focus on the relationship between police forces and private security companies in the fight against terrorism. Local and national representatives of public security agencies are increasingly calling upon private companies to participate in the management of various security issues, with an overall aim of considerably reducing security risk on one hand and making substantial economies on the other. Is the private sector really better placed to efficiently manage security issues and concerns? The actual security performance of private security is subject to debate.

Author: Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet

Date: March 2018

Language: English

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Quel rôle pour la sécurité privée dans la lutte contre le terrorisme ?

Dans le cadre de l’extension des domaines d’application de la lutte contre le terrorisme d’une part et la conversion de nos services publics au raisonnement gestionnaire d’autre part, la question du rôle et de la place de la sécurité privée dans la lutte policière contre le terrorisme prend tout son sens. Malgré des modes d’organisation différents selon les configurations nationales, toutes les forces de sécurité ont été sommées – à un moment ou l’autre et avec plus ou moins de facilité et d’opposition – de passer d’une logique de moyens à une logique de performance. A l’instar de nombreux autres services publics, les forces de polices, gendarmes et forces armées ont du accommoder leur vocation à remplir des missions indiscutables et permanentes de service à une dimension managériale les conduisant à questionner leur fonctionnement au nom des enjeux de flexibilité et des conditions de travail. Entre la mise en place de ratio d’efficacité et d’efficience d’une part et un contexte largement partagé à travers tous les pays européens de réduction non seulement des effectifs mais aussi des budgets d’autre part, toutes les forces de sécurité publique ont été contraintes de repenser leurs « cœurs de métiers », leurs priorités et par voie de conséquence de se débarrasser de missions « indues » ou « périphériques » souvent couteuses en effectifs et entrant plus difficilement dans les lignes budgétaires des programmes d’action.


The Lessons of a Long-Term Political Economy of Punishment

Vanneste, Charlotte, From One Recession to Another: The Lessons of a Long-Term Political Economy of Punishment. The Example of Belgium (1830-2014), The Political Economy of Punishment Today. Visions, Debates and Challenges, edited by Dario Melossi, Máximo Sozzo, José A Brandariz García, London, Routledge, 2018.

Over the last fifteen years, the analytical field of punishment and society has witnessed an increase of research developing the connection between economic processes and the evolution of penality from different standpoints, focusing particularly on the increase of rates of incarceration in relation to the transformations of neoliberal capitalism.

The Spanish State’s Illicit War with ETA

Contemporary democratic Spain has been plagued with serious campaigns of political violence. Since the end of the Francoist authoritarian regime in 1975 until the announcement of a ceasefire in 2010, the Basque separatist clandestine group ETA (Euskadi (e)Ta Askatasuna, Basque country and Freedom) has unquestionably played a central part in this deadly process. In response to the increasingly violent actions of ETA during the political transition and onwards, Spain has adopted a determined and strong counter-terrorist stance, establishing one of the most impressive antiterrorist arsenals in western democracies, pushing the agenda of a European-wide reformulation of police and judicial assistance between member states and sparing no effort to secure French co-operation against terrorism in general and against ETA in particular. Less known were the extrajudicial strategies Spain used to suppress Basque radical nationalism and eradicate ETA. In the 1980s, initiatives to re-open channels to ETA by the Socialist government (PSOE) of Felipe González (1982-1996) were twinned with a confusing if astute strategy of official enhancement of police and judicial co-operation with France on the one hand and a covert campaign of assassination of members of ETA on the other. Between 1983 and 1987, mercenaries adopting the pseudonym GAL (Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación, Antiterrorist Liberation Groups) paid by the Spanish treasury and relying upon national intelligence support were at war with ETA. Nearly thirty were killed in this campaign of torture, kidnapping, bombing and assassination of suspected ETA activists and Basque refugees. Nearly 30 years later, this campaign of intimidation, coercion, death squads and targeted killings in a liberal democracy continues to grip Spain. The aim of the paper is to shed lights on a fascinating and intriguing case of illiberal practices in a liberal regime where State agencies colluded with French, Portuguese and Spanish mercenaries in order to kill members of ETA and push the French Government towards more cooperation in the fight against Basque terrorism. New research on illiberal practices in liberal regimes continues to emerge at a brisk pace in an increasingly diverse array of regions in the Western world. Gaps and disconnects remain, but together these studies contribute to a more nuanced understanding of “state terrorism”. By offering a comprehensive yet readable understanding of a dark side of the Spanish contemporary counter-terrorist experience, this paper will contribute to this endeavour.

Presentation by Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet at the 11th ECPR Conference in Oslo

Women and violent extremism

The analysis of women, gender, and terrorism has been sparse and riddled with stereotypical thinking about women’s capabilities and motivations. Women are rarely associated with devotion to the cause and the longstanding belief that women assume passive and inherently less interesting roles in militant organisations is still very much alive across academic and political spheres.

Download the AFFECT-RP-1-2017-Women and violent extremism

Risk-Soaked Security imaginary: Governing Effects and Political Implications,

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre, Risk-Soaked Security imaginary: Governing Effects and Political Implications, New Perspectives. Interdisciplinary Journal of Central & East European Politics and international Relations, 2017, 25(2), pages 28-34

Precautionary governmental process and the rising cultural prevalence of risk have indelibly transformed our understanding of past, present and future through categories of induction and probabilistic reasoning on the danger to come. The complex ways in which we have collectively become embedded in risk assessment technologies and generalised forms of suspicion towards unfamiliar persons, undesirable people, swarthy and menacing outsiders have reinforced social fragmentation, polarisation and exclusion. When besieged with emotional appeals, evocative imagery and threatening news, it is certainly not easy to disrupt this taken-for-granted assumption that violence and warfare are appropriate responses to violence. The question of whether these measures could contribute to increase the risk of escalation of violence and the risk of further exclusion of a population already disenfranchised seems almost forgotten. But, equally, it would be dangerous to reduce our understanding of the politics of security to an imperturbable drift towards pure authoritarian logics of action. (read more)

The New Age of Suspicion

Guittet, Emmanuel-Pierre & Fabienne Brion, The New Age of Suspicion, Politics of Anxiety, Andrea Zevnik, Emmy Eklundh & Emmanuel-Pierre Guittet (eds.), Rowman & Littlefield, 2017.

When suspicion governs security agencies’ scripts and practices, permeates political discourse and ordinary daily practices it produces an anxious alertness that perpetuate rather than mitigates past, present and potential fear. The complex ways in which we have collectively become embedded in risk assessment technologies and generalised forms of suspicion towards unfamiliar persons, undesirable people and menacing outsiders have reinforced social fragmentation and the dangers of polarisation and exclusion (read more)…

Radicalisation: «La surveillance a pris le pas sur les politiques sociales»

Plan national de sécurité, plan Canal, plan global de prévention du radicalisme de la Région bruxelloise, plan de prévention du radicalisme à l’école, Réseau anti-radicalisme de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles… La liste n’est pas close de toutes les initiatives «anti-radicalisme» qui ont été mises en place par les pouvoirs publics, surtout après les premiers attentats de Paris. Pour quels résultats? Article publié par Martine Vandemeulebroucke dans Alteréchos le 23 mars 2017.

Les responsables politiques ont-ils fait du «football panique», comme l’estime François De Smet, le directeur du centre fédéral des Migrations, Myria, en observant l’accumulation des dispositifs de lutte contre le radicalisme? Pour lui, la seule prévention possible se situe bien en amont, à l’école, dans des cours de philosophie qui apprennent aux jeunes à confronter pacifiquement leurs points de vue. Mais le fait est là. Si la Région bruxelloise, par exemple, avait annoncé en juin 2016 des mesures «de lutte contre le radicalisme et pour le bien vivre ensemble», c’est au cours de ce mois de mars seulement que le budget pour le «vivre-ensemble» a été voté. On a voulu sécuriser d’abord…(lire la suite).

A year after Brussels attacks, what’s fixed… and what’s still broken

Everyone in Belgium remembers where they were on March 22, 2016, no matter how far or close they were to the Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station.  A year after Brussels attacks, what’s fixed… and what’s still broken by Cathy Buyck, Laurent Cerulus and Cynthia Khroet, published in Politico, March 23, 2017.

veryone in Belgium remembers where they were on March 22, 2016, no matter how far or close they were to the Brussels Airport and Maalbeek metro station. This year, they commemorated the 32 victims, killed by three suicide bombers, and the 320 injured, as well as the emergency and transportation workers, the hotel staff, taxi drivers, cafe owners and simple strangers who rushed to help. “Our land has been targeted at the very heart, but we all wanted to carry on,” King Philippe said as he addressed relatives of the victims Wednesday morning. After ceremonies at the airport and metro station, the King and Queen Mathilde led family members and rescuers to a new memorial by Jean-Henri Compere near Rond Pont Schuman in the heart of the European Union quarter. “It’s the responsibility of each and every one of us to make our society more human and more just,” the King said there, adding, “Let us learn to listen to each other again, to respect each other’s weaknesses. Above all let us dare to be tender.” (lire la suite)

(c) JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images