The Accidental Ambassadors: Implications of Benevolent Radicalization

Reidy, Kenneth (2018) The Accidental Ambassadors: Implications of Benevolent Radicalization. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Radicalization research explores the socialization process prior to becoming an extremist and/or engaging in terrorism. The problem is, these are the only outcomes radicalization research investigates; a selection bias. Using normative group equivalence and constructivist grounded theory, six British Muslim aid workers were selected who matched Western Jihadists on four characteristics: socio-demographics, a desire to act against injustice, previous criminality and previous mobilization to Daesh-controlled territory between 2015 and 2018. Upon returning to the U.K. the research participants were interviewed under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act and categorized as false positives. This confirmed the credibility of the match. What distinguished both cohorts were the behaviors engaged in when mobilized; one outside of social norms and the democratic consensus (Jihadism) and the other within them, but taken to the extreme (humanitarianism in extremis). How did a matched group engage in morally opposed behaviors under similar circumstances at home and abroad? The original contribution to knowledge is that radicalization is a vector; one can radicalize malevolently or benevolently. The latter are positive deviants whose pro-social and victim-centric prognoses compete with the anti-social and perpetrator-centric prognoses of Jihadists because both recruit from the same sentiment pool. Therefore, benevolently radicalized groups embody an attractive alternative for those who wish to positively impact upon the suffering of others; a “do this instead” narrative uniquely aligned to a relevant offline behavior. Bolstering their numbers is posited to stymy Jihadist recruitment, empower European Muslim youth and engender a perceptive shift away from their suspect community status using the same term which securitized them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multifinality and Janusian Outcomes, Counter-Engagement, Positive Deviance and Biomimicry, Pathological Altruism, Aid-In-Extremis
Subjects: L300 Sociology
L600 Anthropology
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Social Sciences
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2019 15:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 22:32

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