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Faculty of Social Sciences

Young people and radicalization

Associate Professor Sune Qvotrup Jensen is leading a research project investigating some young Western men’s attraction to militant and Islamic environments. One of the aims of this research project is to develop different methods that can help stop radicalization. 

The Challenge

Some societies are currently experiencing extensive growth in and backing of militant and/or Islamic environments that promote racism, anti-feminism, and homophobia.

These militant and Islamic environments are strongly connected to several violent happenings all over the US, Europe, and Asia as well as to extremely harsh and aggressive warfare in Africa and the Middle East. Compared to other countries, Denmark experiences a growth in these kinds of environments seeing as more and more people travel to Syria to participate in the civil war.

This radicalization presents a considerable challenge to the Danish and global society. For that reason, it is crucial to know what makes young people, predominantly men, engage with militant and Islamic environments.  


The science

The process that leads to radicalization amongst young people is not sufficiently explored in international research. We know that radicalized people are often young people on the edge of society, however, we do not know whether this plays a role in their involvement with Islamic environments.

For this reason, the research project explores the processes behind becoming radicalized: which social, emotional, and psychological mechanisms lead to radicalization?

The researchers intend to investigate journalistic and biographical sources; collect information from judicial proceedings, the internet, and social media; and interview former radicals and people who work with radicalization.

In the end, researchers will develop a theory about processes behind radicalization with the premise that it deals with complex processes that can be understood by combining four different theoretical traditions:

  1. Sex, gender, and masculinity
  2. Subcultures
  3. Religious feelings
  4. Political identity formation



By understanding why some young people are attracted to militant Islamic environments, it is then possible to create methods that can be used by the police and social workers to prevent and stop radicalization. 



 Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Work
 Phone: +45 9940 7384
 View AAU-profile

 Research groups:

 CASTOR - Centre for Analysis of Strucutral Transformations and New Orientations
 Centre for Masculinity Studies, CeMAS