Listening to Muslim students’ voices on the Prevent Duty in British universities: a qualitative study

Zempi, I. ORCID: 0000-0002-1719-8573 and Tripli, A., 2022. Listening to Muslim students’ voices on the Prevent Duty in British universities: a qualitative study. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice. ISSN 1746-1979

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The Prevent Duty requires universities in the United Kingdom to identify and report students who might be seen as ‘vulnerable’ to radicalisation. Since its introduction in 2015, the duty has been subject to increasing empirical research in the education sector. However, there has been limited research that specifically explores Muslim students’ perceptions of Prevent in British universities. This paper directly addresses this gap in research by drawing upon the qualitative experiences of 25 university students who self-identified as ‘British Muslims’. Individual, semi-structured interviews were transcribed and analysed using Thematic Analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006). The findings demonstrate the securitisation of higher education and ‘policing’ of Muslim students. The paper draws on Pantazis and Pemberton’s (2009) use of the ‘new suspect community’ thesis in order to examine participants’ views and experiences. When analysing the data, three particular themes are especially prominent: as a tool of ‘surveillance’, Prevent hampers freedom of speech, threatens student activism and forces Muslim students to hide their Muslim identity to avoid being labelled as ‘radical’ or ‘vulnerable’ to terrorism. It will be concluded that the ‘surveillance’ function of Prevent is problematic on the grounds that it renders universities ‘modern-day panopticons’.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Education, Citizenship and Social Justice
Creators: Zempi, I. and Tripli, A.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date: 16 February 2022
ISSN: 1746-1979
Rights: © the author(s) 2022. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 12 Jan 2022 11:30
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 15:28

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