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Finden, Alice (2022) Counter Terrorism and the Normalisation of Violence: a Feminist Genealogy of Anglo/Egyptian Pre-criminal Practices. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis expands on and understandings of the ‘pre-criminal space’ – a pre-emptive form of countering terrorism that sets up different treatment for those suspected of terrorism – by situating it within a historical context. This thesis makes two, inter-related arguments. First, I argue that by contextualising the ‘pre-criminal space’ within colonial legal histories, it becomes clear how this pre-emptive form of countering terrorism is legitimised and normalised as part of the everyday operation of law, rather than being a form of exceptionalism. Second, the thesis argues that the ‘pre-criminal space’ relies upon conceptualisations of extremism and terrorism that have been shaped by forms of morality and vulnerability through the marginalisation of gendered, classed and racialised communities. The arguments are made through a genealogy of pre-criminal forms of countering terrorism in early twentieth century British-occupied and contemporary Britain and Egypt. Using transnational, intersectional, queer and postcolonial feminist approaches that combine archival analysis with interviews and legal analysis, the thesis interrogates legal moments in Britain’s colonial history in Egypt, arguing that these events have been central in normalising everyday forms of state violence in both states. By holding together versions of truth from the British administration, British feminists and Egyptian officials, alongside testimonies of the fellaheen (peasantry), the working classes and sex workers, and contemporary interviews with Egyptian citizens, I demonstrate the tensions between empirical depictions of what law and violence mean to people on an everyday basis, and what an archival or legal account provides. The thesis concludes that the pre-criminal space is a form of coloniality that is legitimised through the primacy of contemporary law.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Gender Studies
SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Gina Heathcote
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 16:59
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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