This article discusses the concept of radicalisation taking as its point of departure different conceptualisations of what it means to be radical. The article makes the argument that the confusion related to concepts of radicalisation is due to the existence of different contexts in which the concept of radicalisation is used. These different contexts lead to particular understandings of the concept, as different contexts are determined by different agendas. For example, a person considered radicalised in the integration context, may not be radicalised in the security context, or in the foreign-policy context. In the integration context radicalisation becomes attached to debates on integration and cohesion, thereby subjecting larger groups to charges of being radicalised. The author argues that awareness of different concepts and contexts may help to understand why the idea of radicalisation is so contested and to help clarify what it may mean within these specific contexts.
The concept of radicalization as a source of confusion
2 December 2010
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