The Problem with Radicalisation: A Critique of the Logic of Drivers

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Gabe MYTHEN, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
The idea of radicalisation has come to prominence as a means of explaining the process by which individuals become attracted to extremist ideology and endorse the actions of terrorist groups that use violence. Over the last decade, the notion of radicalisation has gained traction in policy, political and media circles in Britain, being commonly indexed to concerns about the threat of ‘home-grown’ terrorist attacks. This paper directly addresses and critiques the understanding of radicalisation outlined in PREVENT, the UK Government’s strategy for combatting violent extremism. I wish to focus in particular on how radicalisation is constructed in PREVENT and how evidence is deployed to generate a particular narrative of the process. First, the analytical logic underpinning the radicalisation thesis and the interventions that this logic permits are examined. Second, the evidence for the specific ‘drivers’ of radicalisation articulated within PREVENT are questioned. Third, we discuss the key problems that arise when the problem of terrorism is approached via the concept of radicalisation, focusing on elisions and iatrogenic effects.