Monthly Archives: December 2019

Radicalization and Nationalism

Robert Schertzer (MPC Visiting Fellow)

Mitja Sardoc (MPC Visiting Fellow)

10 December 2019, 11:00–12:30, Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

As part of its seminar series, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:

Nationalism: the role of culture and social media in the rise of anti-immigrant politics across the west

This presentation explores the resurgence of ethnic nationalism, focusing on its puzzling success in the liberal democracies of the West, and in particular Donald Trump’s embrace of the ideology in his 2016 presidential campaign. The talk focuses on how political leaders such as Trump legitimate their political programs by tapping into institutionalized ideas about the ethnic identity of the nation. The argument is that paying close attention to how these ethnic ideas are used provides a ‘thicker’ explanation for the success of ethnic nationalism today than the leading accounts that point to socio-economic and political factors as the drivers of nationalism and populism. To demonstrate this argument, the presentation provides a novel content analysis of all 5,500 tweets sent by Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign. The findings of this analysis are also briefly compared against the social media campaigns of ‘Leave.EU’ during Brexit in 2016, and Marine Le Pen’s 2017 French presidential run.

Making Sense of Violent Extremism

This paper critically engages with post-9/11 scholarship on radicalization and violent extremism. Its overall aim is to move beyond the ‘conventional wisdom’ associated with radicalization and violent extremism best represented by many of its well-known slogans, metaphors as well as various thought-terminating clichés. In fact, despite the consensus that radicalization and violent extremism represent a major challenge to political, economic and social security of contemporary societies, the field of ‘radicalization research’ is characterized by the absence of a fixed definition of radicalization and violent extremism as well as a significant degree of conceptual confusion. While the post-9/11 scholarship on these issues brought to the forefront problems previously either compartmentalized in specialized courses on intelligence and security studies or at the very fringes of scholarly interest, several conceptual issues have been either neglected or outrightly ignored. This presentation aims to identify some of the most pressing conceptual problems and challenges plaguing the field of ‘radicalization research’ including the status of violent extremism and the relationship between these two ideas etc.