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"Brad Evans" "Histories of Violence" "University of Bristol"

Liberal Terror


Security is meant to make the world safer. Yet despite living in the most secure of times, we see endangerment everywhere. Whether it is the threat of another devastating terrorist attacks, a natural disaster or unexpected catastrophe, anxieties and fears define the global political age. While liberal governments and security agencies have responded by advocating a new catastrophic topography of interconnected planetary endangerment, our desire to securitize everything has rendered all things potentially terrifying. This is the fateful paradox of contemporary liberal rule. The more we seek to secure, the more our imaginaries of threat proliferate. Nothing can therefore be left to chance. For everything has the potential to be truly catastrophic. Such is the emerging state of terror normality we find ourselves in today.

This illuminating book by Brad Evans provides a critical evaluation of the wide ranging terrors which are deemed threatening to advanced liberal societies. Moving beyond the assumption that liberalism is integral to the realisation of perpetual peace, human progress, and political emancipation on a planetary scale, it exposes how liberal security regimes are shaped by a complex life-centric rationality which directly undermines any claims to universal justice and co-habitation. Through an incisive and philosophically enriched critique of the contemporary liberal practices of making life more secure, Evans forces us to confront the question of what it means to live politically as we navigate through the dangerous uncertainty of the 21st Century.

In this brilliant book, Brad Evans offers a forceful, cogent, and eye-opening analysis of the complex forces shaping the new normal of terror and security, and provides the theoretical and political tools to challenge it. Liberal Terror should be required reading for everyone concerned about both the changing nature and fate of politics today.

Henry A. Giroux


This book is essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the 21st Century security terrain. It illustrates with sophisticated critical poise the ethical and political stakes of the contemporary attempts at securing planetary life. In doing so, the need to think beyond the failures of liberal humanism becomes altogether more urgent and pressing.

Simon Critchley


A tour de force. Page after page, the rhetorical motions of the text are disruptive, insightful and compelling. A counter-effectuation of the prevailing, neo-liberal political conceits in both academic and governmental spaces, its contributions to security analysis, critical methods, and political thinking in general will have lasting effects.

Michael Shapiro



Further Reviews

Review of Liberal Terror in LSE Review of Books

Review of Liberal Terror in Antipode

Review of Liberal Terror in CEJSS

Review of Liberal Terror in Perspectives on Politics

Review of Liberal Terror in Resilience 

Review of Liberal Terror in Marx & Philosophy

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