The Face of Evil: Demonising the Arab Other in Contemporary Australia

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Greg Noble


The ‘face of evil’ has become a recurring image in recent years in accounts of international terrorism. Yet it has also become a frequent figure in debates around ‘ethnic crime’ and ‘race rape’. It is a motif that demonstrates the ethnicisation of a moralised discourse of good and evil, particularly in the face of religious fundamentalism and moral panic around men of Arabic or Muslim background. The physicality of evil is often obscured in abstract discussions of moral panic. The face of evil ‘fixes’ evil in terms of a certain appearance and manner that are evidence of a deeper ‘truth’ of moral danger.

Article Details

Panic (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Greg Noble, University of Western Sydney

Greg Noble is Associate Professor in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney. His research interests include youth, ethnicity and identity; multiculturalism and education; and material culture, subjectivity and embodiment. He has published widely on various topics and is co-author of Kebabs, Kids, Cops and Crime: Youth, Ethnicity and Crime (2000), Bin Laden in the Suburbs: Criminalising the Arab Other (2004) and Lines in the Sand: the Cronulla Riots and the Limits of Australian Multiculturalism (2008).