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.