Location: Europe. Occupation: Mujahedeen : choosing the radical Islamist career track
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This thesis conceptualises Islamist radicalisation in Europe as a process of occupational choice. It follows the approach to individual radicalisation as incremental development (process) with the consideration of multi-level factors and dynamics. The analysis leading to this multi-phase process is grounded in data, comparative and comprehensive since it adopts a perspective of individual life-stories. It conceptualises radicalisation phases and the whole process not as something specific but as a concrete variation of a more general process. It further accounts for gradual change in time instead of sudden and radical points of change from ‘normality’ to radicalism, at the same time clearly defining the phases of involvement and the main categories and conditions impacting on the Islamist occupational choice. The theoretical framework integrates rational choice and framing theory elements within a general approach to the phenomenon of interest as social process. The methodology used is grounded theory and the data sources are in the majority primary data from fieldwork in Austria, France and Germany, along with secondary data and literature as directed by theoretical sampling. The structure of the thesis develops as follows: a discussion and clarification of the radicalism and ‘radicalisation’ concepts; a review and critique of the main contributions in the literature on Islamist radicalisation in Europe; the outline, rationale and application of the methodology; the emergence and dynamics of the Islamist radical occupational choice process; the analysis of occupational choice categories; and the emergence and impact of interpretative frameworks in shaping occupational choice categories.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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