Conference: Radicalisation in/and the Low Countries – The troubled trajectories of an empty signifier

Date: 13-14 September 2016
Venue: Raadzaal sw 00.113, faculty of social sciences, Parkstraat 45, 3000 Leuven

A 2 day conference organised by IMMRC (KU Leuven) & GIIS (Ghent University)

The concept of radicalization emerged in a matter of 15 years as one of the leading concepts to account for the growing tensions that are seen to lie behind the emergence of political and militant forms of Islam and that might resort to acts of violence. Introduced in the Lowlands in 2000 and picked up by scholars, its popularity and significance expanded after the 9/11 attacks.

The murder of Theo Van Gogh in 2004 and the London bombings of 2005 spurred the further adoption and expansion of this term in an international context. The emergence of Islamic groups such as Sharia4Belgium or Sharia4Holland, the departure of hundreds of youngsters to Syria and the direct implication of some of these returnees in the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015-2016 has given more credence to the need of counter-radicalization measures and policies that are also informed by a rich body of literature (Slootmans & Tillie 2006; Buijs, Demant & Hamdy 2006; Gielen 2008; Coolsaet 2004; Neumann 2012). Yet despite its omnipresence, the term radicalization is equally highly contested and has been criticized for its opacity, securitizing components and depoliticizing effects (Kundnani 2012, Baker-Beall, Heath-Kelly & Jarvis 2015; Ragazzi 2015).

During this two-day conferences, younger and more established scholars based in Belgium and the Netherlands will gather in order to discuss the value of this discourse, its circulation and its effects. Rather than simply dismissing the usage of this concept, this conference seeks to understand what the language of radicalization does and how its use is tied with the growth of a number of insecurities that are at the heart of today’s political imaginaries.

The program has two sections. There is a public symposium with Arun Kundnani and Martha Crenshaw (no registration needed) and a seminar with researchers from the Netherlands and Belgium (registration required).

The program can be downloaded HERE.
Registration: HERE.

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