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International relations of radicalization

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International relations of radicalization

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This lecture provides with an overview over the position of radicalization within International Relations. How can we approach the issue of radicalization from the perspectives of the international system?

This lecture provides with an overview over the position of radicalization within International Relations. How can we approach the issue of radicalization from the perspectives of the international system?

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International relations of radicalization

  1. 1. International Relations of Radicalization Dr. Andreas Önnerfors Associate Professor in the History of Sciences and Ideas University of Gothenburg, Sweden andreas.onnerfors@gu.se https://gu-se.academia.edu/AndreasÖnnerfors
  2. 2. Structure of lecture (1) Definitions: What are International Relations? What is Radicalization? (2) ”A violation of rights in one part of the world is felt everywhere” (Immanuel Kant) – international interconnectedness and global burdens without borders (3) Global references creating meaning across borders: starting with the US-UK-conflict of the 18th century (global repercussions) (4) Global interconnectedness through migration or voluntary belonging (cultural hybridization in the age of globalization) (5) Global interconnectedness through digital medialization
  3. 3. (1) What are International Relations? ”The discipline that studies interactions between and among states, and more broadly, the workings of the international system as a whole. It can be conceived of either as a multidisciplinary field, gathering together the international aspects of politics, economics, history, law, and sociology, or as a meta‐discipline, focusing on the systemic structures and patterns of interaction of the human species taken as a whole. The discipline acquired its own identity after the First World War. Its principal branches additional to theory include international political economy, international organization, foreign policy‐making, strategic (or security) studies, and, more arguably, peace research. If area studies is added to these, the label international studies becomes more appropriate. When spelled wholly in lower case, the term refers to the totality of interactions within the international system. The emphasis is often on relations between states, though other collective actors such as multinational corporations, transnational interest groups, and international organizations also play an important role.” Barry Buzan, prof em of International Relations, London School of Economics
  4. 4. (1) What is radicalization? • A unidirectional process by which individuals are radicalized to engage in violent extremism (RVE)? => Different models: conveyor-belt, staircase • What role – if any – do ideology and culture play? • What role – if any – does socio-economic status (SES) play? • What are the other contributing factors? • Conceptual problem: what is ’radical’ and ’extreme’ is relative to the viewpoint and to the societal mainstream (lowest common denominator: violence/terrorism) • Current perceptions are locked in two contradictory positions: (1) a securitizational and behavioural (individual) focus (the ’crust´) and (2) a socio-economical, cognitive, attitudinal and contextual (collective) focus (the ’deep pie’)
  5. 5. Holistic explanations
  6. 6. (2) International interconnectedness and global burdens without borders: Perpetual Peace: a philosophical sketch (1795) • the attempt to explain the foundations of the international system with the normative aim of peaceful coexistence • the attempt to explain what rights all human beings share (Kant reduces ’cosmopolitan law’ to ’hospitality’ => the normative foundation of the idea of ayslum) • most importantly, Kant stresses that violations of rights in any point of the globe are felt everywhere • the ’Westphalian system’ 1648-1815-1918: international law • the post-war order 1945- • ’idealism’ (a certain set of norms ought to regulate IR) vs. ’realism’ (states will always behave in their own interest)
  7. 7. (3) Global references creating meaning across borders (global repercussions) • Example: the North-American struggle for independence 1770s (transnational media event) • Example: the international movement for the abolition of slavery 18-19Cs • International Peace Movement end of 19C • With reference to ’radicalization into violent extremism’: foreign volunteer fighters in Spanish Civil War • Iraq and Syrian civil war: IS and YPG • Ukraine: Ukrainian volunteers and Donbass => The larger context of globalized politics has to be taken into account / expanded references
  8. 8. Önnerfors & Steiner, 2018:14
  9. 9. Önnerfors & Steiner 2018:14-17: ”Globalization creates expanded references” • Second and third generation Muslim radicalization frequently driven by events outside ’host culture’ (since 1988 and the ’Satanic Verses’) • Conversely, ’counter-jihadism’ has emerged as an area of radicalization among societal in-groups in the ’West’ (2011 Oslo, 2016 Jo Cox, UK) • What is ’Europe’, what is the ’West’? What constitutes ’civilizational identity’? • New frame narrative: the ’Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory
  10. 10. Jo Cox (1974-2016), labour MP • Pro-Remain, pro-migration, international solidarity • Was assassinated 16 June 2016 (7 days before the Brexit- referendum) by Thomas Mair who held far-right views, shouting ”This is for Britain. Britain will always come first.” • Mair had links to the US-based neo-Nazi group National Alliance • Jo Cox: ”We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.” (quoted by EP president after Brexit in 2020) • Paralells to the assassination of Anna Lindh in Sweden 2003
  11. 11. Mair’s worldview • ideas of white supremacy • links with US and SA white extremist groups • enemy image of ’collaborators’ / internal enemies • charged by conspiracy theories leading up to the Brexit referendum (’breaking point’, ’deluge’, disseminated by UKIP) • remainers portrayed as ’traitors’ • inspired by Copeland (1999 nail bombs in London targeting blacks, asians and gays) • a typical ’lone wolf’?
  12. 12. (4) Global interconnectedness through migration or voluntary belonging (cultural hybridization in the age of globalization) • How can these developments be explained? (1) Migration (2) Voluntary belonging / cultural hybridization Migration occasioned by forced or voluntary displacement is always followed by phenomena like ’exile’ and ’diaspora’-identitites in which relationships with the majority culture, but also the culture of origin are negotiated (example: emigration of German 48-ers to the US). Morover, what we witness today due to increased international travel, intermarriages and other instances of cultural encounters are examples of voluntary belonging and cultural hybridization. Both of these phenomena create meaning in radicalization processes: why would someone be recruited to IS or YPG, choose to fight for against the Russians in the Donbass or thousands of miles away from home applause the adoption of exclusionary citizenship laws such as in India?
  13. 13. (5) Global interconnectedness through digital medialization • a strong driver of international/global radicalization is digital medialization • this encompasses not only ’social media’, but also its specific media of transmission such as ’memes’ or content deliberately produced for online dissemination • blending the categories of producer and consumer = prosumer
  14. 14. Find out more • “The International Politics of Hate: How the Radical Right Exploits the International System”, School of Blogal Studies, 27 January 2020, https://www.blogalstudies.com/post/international-relations-of-hate-how-the- radical-right-has-conquered-territory-in-the-international • “Radical-Right Radicalization, From the Domestic to the Global”, CARR post 11, August 2019, published in Fair Observer, 24 September 2019: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/radical-right-radicalization-global- networks-security-news-88955/ • “Hijacking Human Rights in the Swedish Radical Right”, CARR post 9, May 2019, also published in Fair Observer, https://www.fairobserver.com/region/europe/radical- right-freedom-expression-human-rights-sweden-europe-news-13251/ • “Conference Report – The Global Rise of Nativism and Illiberalism: A Conversation on the Contemporary Political Pathology”, CARR post 7, 16 January 2019, http://www.radicalrightanalysis.com/2019/01/16/conference-report-the-global-rise- of-nativism-and-illiberalism-a-conversation-on-the-contemporary-political- pathology/

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