Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: An Occupational Change Process, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Islamist Radicalisation in Europe

An Occupational Change Process, 1st Edition

By Daniela Pisoiu


204 pages

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This book examines the Islamist radicalisation process in Europe, developing a new theoretical model based on an empirical study of the evolution of Islamist radicals in their social environment.

The approach of this book is to examine how, and under what conditions, people choose to radicalise. It focuses on the experience of radicalisation from the perspective of those who have undergone it. The study is based on trial and court material, along with an extensive number of interviews collected from many different European countries, and this biographical approach is used to address individuals and the details of their social environment.

Overall, the explanatory framework departs from the existing deterministic paradigm (with grievances as causes), also present in some psychological models, and argues that radicalisation is a process much like occupational choice – a rational choice made with social and ideational significance. It addresses critically the assumption that, because the result of the radicalisation process could be seen as ‘abnormal’, the cause of it might be of a similar nature. Parallels are drawn with other forms of extremism and European counter-radicalisation policies are considered critically.

This book will be of great interest to students of terrorism studies and political violence, political Islam, social movements, European politics and IR/security studies in general.


"The author employs a theoretical model to examine the process of radicalization into Islamist extremism in Europe, based on an empirical study of how such extremists interact with their social environment and how, and under what conditions, individuals choose to radicalize. Especially noteworthy is the author’s biographical approach which uses trial and court materials, along with extensive interviews, to explain how radicalization takes place at the individual level." - Joshua Sinai, ‘Terrorism Bookshelf: Top 150 Books on Terrorism and Counterterrorism’, Perspectives on Terrorism, Vol. 6, No. 2 (2012)

Table of Contents

1. Conceptualising Radicalisation 2. Islamist Radicalisation in Europe: A Reaction to Grievance? 3. Becoming an Islamist Radical: A Matter of Occupational Choice 4. Choosing the Radical Islamist Occupation 5. Closing the Circle: The World Through Radical Eyes 6. Dealing with Islamist Radicalisation. Conclusion

About the Author

Daniela Pisoiu is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg, and has a Phd in International Relations from the University of St Andrews.

About the Series

Political Violence

This book series contains sober, thoughtful and authoritative academic accounts of terrorism and political violence. Its aim is to produce a useful taxonomy of terror and violence through comparative and historical analysis in both national and international spheres. Each book discusses origins, organisational dynamics and outcomes of particular forms and expressions of political violence.

Founding Editor: David Rapoport

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Law Enforcement
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism