Islamist Radicalization in Egypt and Tunisia

Working Paper by Clara-Auguste Süß and Ahmad Noor Aakhunzzada on the Socioeconomic Dimension of Radicalization

Violent Protests between supports of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian security forces, 2013 (Photo: flickr, AFP Photo/Mosaab El-Shamy, https://bit.ly/2Sw1zJl, CC BY 2.0).

Violent Protests between supports of the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian security forces, 2013 (Photo: flickr, AFP Photo/Mosaab El-Shamy, https://bit.ly/2Sw1zJl, CC BY 2.0).

Based on a com­pre­hen­sive study of both aca­demic pub­li­cations and grey literature and in­formed by social move­ment theory, PRIF Working Paper "The Socioeconomic Dimension of Islamist Radicalization in Egypt and Tunisia" analyzes pro­cesses of Is­la­mist ra­di­ca­li­zation in Egypt and Tunisia. The authors Clara-Auguste Süß and Ahmad Noor Aakhunzzada develop a theo­re­ti­cal frame­work that iden­ti­fies key mechanisms that link socio­eco­nomic factors and Is­la­mist ra­di­ca­li­zation, and sys­te­ma­ti­cally re­view the existing re­search in order to iden­ti­fy evi­dence that supports the rele­vance of each of the dif­ferent mechanisms.

More specifi­cally, the authors dis­tin­guish bet­ween socio­eco­no­mic grievances, socio­eco­nomic op­por­tu­nities and fra­ming pro­cesses that build on socio­eco­no­mic narratives. Socio­eco­no­mic grie­vances can drive ra­di­ca­li­zation pro­cesses (a) by mo­ti­va­ting in­di­vi­duals or groups to use vio­lent tactics or join violent groups, and (b) by con­tri­bu­ting to the de­le­gi­ti­mi­zation of the state, which, in turn, can le­gi­ti­mize the use of vio­lence. Socio­eco­no­mic op­por­tunities, which are basically con­sti­tuted by the (relative) ab­sence of the state and of state services, can con­tri­bute to ra­di­ca­li­zation (a) by fa­ci­li­tating the gen­eration of material resources by vio­lent groups, and (b) by pro­vi­ding radical groups with the op­por­tu­nity to at­tract sup­porters and fol­lowers by offering social services. Even if analyzing those mechanisms re­veals ob­vious inter­con­nections in the form of fra­ming pro­cesses and socio­eco­no­mic nar­ratives, the literature re­view showed that this con­struc­ti­vist per­spec­tive re­mains under­studied.

Download (pdf, 423kb): 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.