Radicalization of the marginalized? Dynamics of Islamist radicalization in Tunisia post 2011

Looking at the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) after the so-called Arab up­risings of 2010/2011, only Tunisia seems to be a ‘shining example’ of a success­ful (beginning of a) transition to demo­cracy. At the same time, the country faces severe chal­lenges, one being Islamist radi­cali­zation that is attracting public attention to the country: Since 2011, numerous terrorist attacks occurred and estimated 6.000 Tunisians have left the country to fight in Libya, Syria or Yemen. Further­more, Tunisians have been playing a leading role in jihadist networks in Europe or have been among the highest ranks of the so-called Islamic State (IS).

In its search for ex­plana­tions for radi­cali­zation, the aca­demic literature offers a broad spectrum of possible reasons, political, religious and socio­eco­nomic margi­nali­zation being one of them – a thesis that is found in research on the MENA region, Europe and the United States alike. Yet, while most authors agree that margi­nali­zation presents a background against which radi­cali­zation may be more likely to occur, an actual in-depth empirical analysis looking at both ob­jectively mea­surable and per­ceived margi­nali­zation and examining its role in terms of radi­cali­zation and steering towards violence is still missing.

In her PhD project, Clara-Auguste Süß examines this connec­tion against the back­ground of social move­ment research. The dissertation combines two approaches and perspec­tives: (1) Compa­rative analys­is of radical actors’ frames and narratives (perspective from above – leader­ship and discursive strate­gies) and (2) Compa­rative analysis of local perspec­tives on margina­lization, grie­vances and spatiality (perspec­tive from below – potential consti­tuencies).

Project director:
The Socioeconomic Dimension of Islamist Radicalization in Egypt and Tunisia | 2019

Süß, Clara-Auguste / Aakhunzzada, Ahmad Noor Baheige (2019): The Socioeconomic Dimension of Islamist Radicalization in Egypt and Tunisia, PRIF Working Papers No. 45, Frankfurt/M.

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