The Prevent Strategy’s Impact on Social Relations
A Report on Work in Two Local Authorities
The Prevent Strategy is often accused of being detrimental to social relations in the UK. Criticisms include the securitisation of engagement with Muslim communities, conflation of counter-terrorism and community cohesion, repression of public debate, and the undermining of free speech in schools and universities. This article does not suggest that all criticisms are necessarily invalid or that Prevent, like most strategies addressing complex social issues, is without flaws. However, through analysis of original primary data collected from five years of Prevent delivery in two West London Boroughs, the authors find that many criticisms of Prevent neglect to address the diversity and nuance of impact across the UK as well as the many positive impacts Prevent has on social relations. Criticisms seem partly a consequence of the scarcity of data available to researchers. To address this, the article presents new data to demonstrate a wider range of social impacts, with reference to specific experiences in two Local Authorities.
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