Islamist radicalization in Denmark: theoretical explanation in an empirically challenged field

Signe Zibrandtsen Haaning, Anders Ring Hunov, Anders Risager Keinicke, Daniel Elm Clausen & Katrine Meiner Nykjær

Student thesis: Subject Module Project


This paper examines the social mechanisms of radical islamic environments in Denmark with an emphasis on group dynamic procedures, which draw the individual towards the targeted group. Methodically the paper uses both primary and secondary qualitative empiricism through respectively expert interview from theoretical and empirical backgrounds and biographical books, empirical papers and other second-in-hand sources. To establish a well-rounded holistic perspective of explanations on the scientific field, this paper has initially searched through the literature with the intention of deducing a clear definition of what constitutes radicalisation. Secondly the search has been with the intention of displaying the state of the art in order to examine which knowledge is lacking thereof. The paper suggests that secondary personal gains play a crucial role for the individuals seek-out to the radical environment. Individual explanations are paramount in relation to the initial seek-out, where especially personal ruptures generate cognitive openings and a need for self-evaluation. The need for self-evaluation is met by charismatic religious leaders and the received acknowledgement and feeling of kinship has an assimilating impact in a group context. The individual need for closeness and acknowledgement seems to have an impact on the group level, which amplifies group polarisation. The ideological primary gains are reinforced through the groups isolation and shielding from external relationships. The empirical obstacles challenge the verification of the analysis due to a lack of primary empirical sources, which may cause misguidance for the core analysis. The understanding of the group level mechanisms has been forced to integrate understandings from the individual level, which seem to serve a focus on the initial stage of the radicalisation process

Educations, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Basic
Publication date28 May 2018
Number of pages75
SupervisorsSilas Harrebye