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Title: 'Doing risk' : practitioner interpretations of risk of childhood radicalisation and the implementation of the HM Government PREVENT Duty
Author: Vaughn, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7970 4966
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis represents a specific and unique contribution to knowledge about how Government risk policy and legislation for children is operationalised in practice, in a particular time and place. The qualitative practice-oriented inquiry it draws upon straddled a period of enactment of a legislative Duty, expectant with challenges for implementation in practice, in a time of rapid change for the 'counter terrorism'/security landscape and for safeguarding children. The prevention of 'childhood radicalisation' as articulated through the UK Government's counter-terrorism strategy, PREVENT, and later the legislatively required PREVENT Duty 'to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism' (Counter Terrorism and Security Act, 2015) is a seismic shift in contemporary work to safeguard children from risk and harm. This study explores how various practitioners, working in education, welfare and criminal justice settings with children in Liverpool, a city ascribed PREVENT Priority 2 status by the UK Government, were doing, or would do, the requisite 'risk-work' of identifying, managing and acting on perceived dangers facing children to pre-empt the risk of 'childhood radicalisation' (CR). However, CR is not taken as a given. It is revealed in this thesis, through analysis of radicalisation and risk theories, legislation and policy, as an unknown, and even unknowable uncertainty, problematically recast and 'moulded' into a risk that is framed as possible to predict and control. The assemblage of CR as a risk in policy and legislation is proposed here to be beyond a 'zombie' concept, resembling more of a 'Frankenstein's Monster'. Various concepts and knowledges, namely those of radicalisation, pre-crime and safeguarding are legislatively stitched together. In a context of 'not knowing' about the true nature or extent of the risk claimed to be posed to, or from children, this hybrid theory is then mobilised through regulation. Practitioners have been tasked to bring this monster to life through their everyday safeguarding practices with children. Practitioner recounts of 'doing risk' illuminate in a similar Frankensteinian fashion, their patchwork ways of learning, seeing and acting on CR. What they come to understand to be the normal character of CR, a non-knowledge of the typologies of CR acquired through various means, consequently, informs a distorted form of 'professional vision' to see, or not see, children's behaviours through the lens of CR risk. The everyday practical dilemmas faced in operationalising policy and legislation in this 'state of ignorance' and their attempts to resist discriminatory implementation are described as significantly impacting practitioners' endeavours to keep children safe. By attending to dilemmas of these and other kinds, this thesis offers insights which can improve future policy and practice and identifies areas for new research.
Supervisor: Godfrey, Barry ; Mair, Michael ; Waring, Sara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral