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Radicalisation AEM


Co-presented with the Department of Sociology and Social Policy, in the School of Social and Political Sciences

Case studies with a university student, a computer hacker, and a former drug dealer demonstrate different radicalisation experiences and suggest that radicalisation is not something done to people, but something produced by active participants.

Home-grown terrorism is among the most urgent challenges confronting western societies today. Attempts to understand jihadism often treat this development as a form of political violence, a form of religious extremism, or the result of the manipulation and grooming of vulnerable people. But once we start to explore actual experiences of radicalization we discover a great diversity of experiences, as well as the fact that radicalization is not something done to people, but something produced by active participants.

In this presentation Professor Kevin McDonald explores case studies of different radicalization experiences, based on interviews with members of banned organizations and the social media use of British and French young people who travelled to Syria. He focuses on a university student, a computer hacker, and a former drug dealer. These experiences highlight embodied imaginaries more than political ideologies, conspiracy theories more than religion, and suggest new ways to understand and respond to the allure of jihadism as well as other forms of violent extremism.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 26 June 2018.

The Speaker:

Before joining Middlesex University as Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Criminology and Sociology in 2013, Professor Kevin McDonald has held senior academic positions at the University of Melbourne in Australia, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, together with a Marie Curie International Fellowship at Goldsmiths College in London.

Fluent in three languages, he is a leader of international research networks around engagement and disengagement from violence, social and religious movements and the construction of civil societies, and the empowering role of digital technologies. He is a facilitator with the UK-based Council for Assisting Refugee Academics, where he has worked on its Iraq Research Fellowship Programme, and is a member of the Australian Attorney General's Countering Violent Extremism Research Panel.

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