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Suspect Communities

Anti-Muslim Racism and the Domestic War on Terror

2019
Author:

Nicole Nguyen

Suspect Communities

The first major qualitative study of “countering violent extremism” in key U.S. cities

Suspect Communities is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. By undertaking this analysis, Nicole Nguyen offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of the CVE program on local communities.

Suspect Communities is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. Drawing on an interpretive qualitative study, it examines how the concept behind CVE—aimed at combating homegrown terrorism by engaging Muslim community members, teachers, and religious leaders in monitoring and reporting on young people—has been operationalized through the everyday work of CVE actors, from high-level national security workers to local community members, with significant penalties for the communities themselves.

Nicole Nguyen argues that studying CVE provides insight into how the drive to bring liberal reforms to contemporary security regimes through “community-driven” and “ideologically ecumenical” programming has in fact further institutionalized anti-Muslim racism in the United States. She forcefully contends that the U.S. security state has designed CVE to legitimize and shore up support for the very institutions that historically have criminalized, demonized, and dehumanized communities of color, while appearing to learn from and attenuate past practices of coercive policing, racial profiling, and political exclusion.

By undertaking this analysis, Suspect Communities offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of CVE on local communities.

Suspect Communities

Nicole Nguyen is assistant professor of social foundations of education at the University of Illinois–Chicago. She is author of A Curriculum of Fear: Homeland Security in U.S. Public Schools (Minnesota, 2016).

Suspect Communities

Contents

Acknowledgments I

ntroduction: Defining the Enemy Within

1. Ethnographic Dilemmas: Rethinking Power Relations when Studying Up

2. Left of Boom: Remaking the Global War on Terror

3. “The R Word”: Radicalization Theories and Their Discontents

4. Patriot Acts: Managing Public Objections to CVE

5. The Generational Threat: Youth Radicalization and the Domestic War on Terror

Conclusion: Reimagining National Security

Appendix

Notes

Bibliography

Index