New Publication: Radicalisation as a Political Narrative

Dr. Hendrik Hegemann

The term "radicalisation" has become established in public discourse as a guiding concept to describe the background of "homemade terrorism" in liberal democracies. However, radicalisation is not only an empirically observable phenomenon, but also a political concept that has been driven by concrete actors and shapes our view and reaction to the associated phenomena.
In an article published in the Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Hendrik Hegemann reconstructs radicalisation as an independent political narrative and analyses official strategy papers from thirteen Western states. The article traces how radicalisation developed as a political answer to the question as to why previously largely inconspicuous, often well integrated people used violence against the seemingly functioning democratic societies in which the majority of them grew up or were born. Hendrik Hegemann argues that this narrative fulfils two central functions: First, it enables the maintenance of political capacity to act in the face of complex challenges that are difficult to understand and transforms them into workable problems. Second, it serves liberal self-assurance and the confirmation of a collective identity perceived as threatened in supposedly "uncertain times".


Hendrik Hegemann. 2019. Die Politik der "Radikalisierung": Ein politisches Narrativ zwischen Komplexitätsreduzierung und Selbstvergewisserung. Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung 8 (1): 31-60.