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Searching the unknown

This project focuses on the Scandinavian countries' effort against radicalization and violent extremism. Taking the three national action plans against radicalization as point of departure, we ask what discourses on what levels inform preventive actions and how they impact 'suspect communities' and society at large.

In all three countries, civil society and the local communities are given responsibility in detecting groups and individuals 'vulnerable' to radicalization, and to implement suitable preventive actions.

This project intend to explore how categories of potentially 'vulnerable' individuals and groups are created within their relevant local historical and social context.

We furthermore ask how the insecurity and ambivalence around radicalization and successful measures might impact levels of trust and distrust within society as well as within different groups.

Empirically our starting point of study will be settings in which different agents, who are involved in defining radicalization, interact. Starting off with participant observation in these settings we aim at generating a multi-sited research approach, which follows the different groups involved.

Discourses of radicalization will serve as our threads and conjunction, which interlink the two main fields of our investigation:

  1. Discourses and ideas of radicalization and the creation of potential target group
  2. The impact of targeting certain groups on these groups and the individuals.

Data collection will take place in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian communities thereby hopefully generate knowledge that will contribute to improve preventive action.


Project period

  • Start:
    September 2014
  • End:
    August 2018

Commissioned by

  • The Research Council of Norway