The radicalisation machine: why “radicalisation” is a problematic concept

The radicalisation machine: why “radicalisation” is a problematic concept

The term “radicalisation” is a fairly recent addition to the political vocabulary. It appeared for the first time in a policy document in 2004, when it became clear that, contrary to earlier Islam-inspired attacks, the perpetrators in the Madrid bombings were “home-grown terrorists.” Since then an impressive number of de- and counter-radicalisation policies have been devised, aimed at local Muslim communities.

This is remarkable, if not only because the concept itself is highly contested in research and little empirical evidence exists. In the dominant use in media and policy and in the current research state of the art, “radicalisation” is characterised by terminological impurity, a lack of comparison with other and historical forms of extremism, a one-dimensional, teleological understanding of the process and an over-emphasis of individual, psychological and religious factors, obscuring the role of social environments and the responsibility of broader society and of the state. It is in this problematic context that de- and counter-radicalisation policies and programmes are launched with self-evidence. In that same context researchers as well as local organisations are forced to subscribe to project calls echoing the dominant but problematic take on “radicalisation”.

This conference has as objective to discuss the problematic nature of the concept itself as well as the effects such a superficial or misguided understanding of “radicalisation” can have on local, often stigmatised and controlled communities. The BELSPO-funded CONRAD research team kindly invites you to this one-day seminar of reflection and discussion, involving both researchers and practitioners working on a daily basis with vulnerable groups.

Practical information

When? 27 February 2019


Odisee Hogeschool Campus Schaarbeek

H. Hamoirlaan 136

1030 Brussels


09:00 Coffee and registration

09:30 Mattias De Backer (KU Leuven): introduction to the CONRAD project

09:45 Keynote lecture: Farhad Khosrokhavar (EHESS), “Radicalisation, from the concept to reality: types of radicalisation”

10:30 Q&A

10:45 Coffee break

11:15 Marie Figoureux (KU Leuven): "Disentangling radicalisation. Frames and counterframes in the Belgian societal debate."

11:35 Panel “Radicalisation, a problematic concept in research, policy and practice”

Ellen Goovaerts (Arktos)

Hassan Bousetta (Université de Liège)

Anton Vereshchagin (Kaleido Ostbelgien)

Camille Claeys (Municipality of Molenbeek)

Paul Van Tigchelt (OCAD/OCAM)

Moderator: Nadia Fadil (KU Leuven)

12:45 Q&A

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Keynote lecture: Martijn de Koning (Universiteit van Amsterdam), “Chasing ghosts – race, risk and radicalisation in the Netherlands”

14:45 Q&A

15:00 Coffee break

15:30 Mattias De Backer and Tom Flachet: “The radicalisation machine”

15:50 Panel “The impact on local communities”

Nina Henkens (Uit De Marge)

Ali Moustatine (D’Broej)

Fabienne Brion (UCL)

Bart Van Bouchaute (Artevelde Hogeschool)

Farid Nagui (CRVI)

Moderator: Maarten De Waele (VVSG)

17:00 Q&A

17:15 Closing words by Erik Claes (Odisee Hogeschool)

Inhoudelijk verantwoordelijke
Ivo Aertsen
Mattias De Backer



50€ * Vrij van BTW volgens art44, § 2, 4° WBTW (Onderwijs)
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