Perverse Tactics: ‘Terrorism’ and National Identity in France

Marie Beauchamps
  • Culture Theory and Critique, February 2016, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/14735784.2015.1137480

Perverse Tactics: ‘Terrorism’ and National Identity in France

What is it about?

This essay focuses on the French legal concept of denaturalisation, paying particular attention to the link between denaturalisation and the notion of ‘terrorism’ in French law. Critically reviewing and assessing relevant parliamentary debates and reports from the 1980s and 1990s, the essay discusses the extent to which the legal definition of terrorism is caught in and fuels an affective economy at the basis of denaturalisation practices. Accordingly, the essay argues that while ‘terrorism’ operates as the unknown and unknowable threat, the term follows a narrative of uncertainty and crisis that goes in two directions. On the one hand, it shapes a surface of power by aligning those being labelled as terrorists against the community. On the other, the ambiguous semantic content of the term allows those in power to constantly review the boundaries of their own categories.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Marie Beauchamps