Gender, Second Generation Identities And Radicalization To Violent Extremism: Social Movements Studies In The Analysis Of Radicalization To Jihadism
Among the 40.000 estimate foreign fighters who left their home countries to join ISIS, second generation Muslim women from the Western world compose an interesting yet under researched group. This dissertation aims at exploring the role of both social interactions, and gender, in processes of radicalization through the application of so-cial movements theories. A comprehensive framework including top-down social movements tasks performance, and peer interactions and group-based dynamics is proposed, in the attempt to bridge the research gap between social movements stud-ies and radicalization studies. The dissertation relies on third parties’ interviews with Hoda Muthana, a former US student who joined ISIS in late 2014, as well as on a rich database of her own social media posts. The findings indicate that second generation Muslims’ identity distress and socialization difficulties in the host countries lead to at-tempts to craft a new individual identity and socialization opportunities in the online realm. Online interactions provide individuals with strong collective identities, and at the same time offer several entry points for Jihadist recruiters and proselytizers. Gen-der has shown to be a significant component of such process, as it furthered griev-ances. The results illustrated align with previous research on social movements stud-ies and radicalization, proving that this approach offers fertile ground to move beyond compartmentalization and lack of interdisciplinarity in the field, offering a novel ap-proach that can inform policy making in a comprehensive way.