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Violent extremism

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Lieven Pauwels
added 4 research items
The first part of the fieldwork within the process evaluation is participatory observations. These were carried out during MAW structures’ meetings in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Prior to the participatory observations, the MAW meeting being observed explained and introduced their work, and highlighted the strengths and pitfalls of MAW that they were experiencing. The selection of the MAW structures to be observed depended on their experience in dealing with the issue of radicalisation. The original intention was to observe eighteen meetings in three cities in Belgium, three cities in the Netherlands and three cities in Germany (two observations in each city). Due to difficulties with data protection and cancellations or a lack of meetings, usually because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we carried out eight observations in Belgium (four cities), three in the Netherlands (two cities) and three in Germany (two cities) – a total of fourteen observations in eight cities. The observations were carried out using an observation protocol (see Appendix 4). The protocol was based on the process indicators derived from the literature review. The participatory observations were carried out both in person (n = 4) and online (n = 10) via Microsoft Teams, depending on the Covid-19 pandemic measures that were in place at the time. The following is an outline of the results. More detailed results can be found in the observation matrices (Tables 5 to 9).
As there is currently no thorough evaluation research on MAW in the context of radicalisation and violent extremism (Gielen, 2020), we carried out a process evaluation of MAW within three countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany). Process evaluations are used to identify the effective key components of an intervention and thus help us to understand why a programme or intervention was successful or not. The combination of all the data from the systematic literature review, participatory observations, semi-structured interviews and two rounds of focus groups created a list of promising practices for multi-agency working in the context of radicalisation and violent extremism. These were translated into a self-evaluation tool. This self-evaluation tool has been developed for a specific target group, namely local practitioners within MAW structures, and will allow cities to evaluate their MAW approach. It is supported by a practical manual that explains how local practitioners should use the tool. The manual can be found on the self-evaluation tool’s website (www.emmascan.eu), which also includes hands-on information and supporting material for conducting successful MAW self-evaluation.
Multi-agency working (MAW) has increasingly been considered a promising approach to enable the early and effective identification of individuals and communities that are at risk of radicalisation and violent extremism. Multi-agency responses usually involve collaboration between local organisations and are based in the belief that the complex problems of radicalisation and violent extremism cannot be effectively addressed by one single agency. However, more than a decade after the conclusion that evaluation in the field of countering violent extremism (CVE) is still in its infancy, it remains underdeveloped and evaluations remain scarce. Challenges such as the lack of established MAW policies and procedures, and information-sharing barriers, have been reported in building effective MAW. The ‘Evaluation and Mentoring of the Multi-Agency approach to violent radicalisation’ (EMMA) project was established firstly to evaluate the MAW approach, and secondly to mentor peer-to-peer assessment and exchange best practice among local practitioners. It asked the question ‘What works under what conditions?’, assessing the approaches used in different countries by means of a realist process evaluation. This book reports the indicators of good MAW practices from a wide range of situations, and gives concrete recommendations for both practitioners and policy-makers. The EMMA project also resulted in the development of a website-based self-evaluation tool for use by local MAW practitioners that will be widely applicable across different MAW approaches in Europe. Key words: radicalisation, violent extremism, multi-agency working, EMMA, self-evaluation
Lieven Pauwels
added 2 research items
Zusammenfassung Die vorliegende Arbeit untersucht die Wechselwirkungen zwischen der extremistischen Disposition und der Online-Exposition gegenüber extremistischen moralischen Normen auf politisch-religiös motiviertes Gewalthandeln. Während bei der Erklärung der Delinquenz von Jugendlichen ein stabiler Interaktionseffekt zwischen der Disposition zur Kriminalität und der kriminogenen Exposition nachgewiesen wurde, wurde dieser Interaktionseffekt in keiner früheren Studie unter jungen Erwachsenen explizit im Hinblick auf politisch oder religiös motivierte Gewalt untersucht. Diese Studie ergänzt daher die vorhandene Literatur um die Überprüfung einer zentralen Annahme der Situational Action Theory (SAT), nämlich der Person-Umwelt-Hypothese (PEA-Hypothese) im Bereich der politisch und religiös motivierten Gewalt. Der SAT zufolge entsteht gewalttätiger Extremismus, wenn eine zu gewalttätigem Extremismus neigende Person und ein gewalttätig-extremistisches Handlungsumfeld zusammentreffen. Diese Arbeit untersucht die Wechselwirkungen dreier Arten extremistischer Dispositionen (linksextremistische, rechtsextremistische und religiös-extremistische Disposition) mit der Exposition gegenüber gewaltaffin-extremistischer Handlungsumfelder. Zugrunde liegen eine schriftliche Befragung von SchülerInnen und eine Internetumfrage unter jungen Erwachsenen in Belgien. Die Ergebnisse stützen die Hypothese, dass die Wirkung der Disposition von der kumulativen extremistischen Exposition abhängt. Diese Resultate bleiben über spezifische Operationalisierungen der Disposition hinweg stabil. Die Bedeutung der erzielten Befunde für die weitere Forschung wird diskutiert.
The present study seeks to explain individual differences in self-reported politically motivated violence and vandalism, and participation within an extreme right-wing group. While violent extremism is highly debated, few criminological studies explicitly test factors that can trigger violent extremism. The present study addresses this gap by integrating two different frameworks: a perceived injustice and group threat-initiated model and an impulsivity-initiated model. We also investigate several intervening mechanisms. We draw on a sample of 705 adolescents and young adults living in Flanders, Belgium to test the strength of direct and intermediary effects of perceived injustice, perceptions of out-group threat from Jewish populations, ethnocentrism, feelings of superiority, moral support for right-wing extremism, and exposure to racist peers on politically motivated violence and vandalism. Results of structural equation models (SEM) indicate various direct and intermediary effects between both perceived injustice and violent extremism, and between impulsivity and violent extremism. Our model reveals the complex and intricate antecedents of violent extremism. Importantly, we find that feelings of injustice and unfair treatment are a major source of extremist violence, as they easily trigger often debated causes such as high in-group identification and ethnocentrism. Implications of these findings for preventing violent extremism are discussed, given the centrality of perceptions of injustice and threat.
Lieven Pauwels
added a research item
Multi-agency working (MAW) has increasingly been considered a promising approach to preventing violent radicalisation, allowing early and effective identification of individuals who may be at risk of violent radicalisation, and breaking down historical silos between agencies. This article provides an overview of the MAW approaches in the context of violent radicalisation in three countries: Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Although these countries are neighbouring, the MAW approach is very different in each, in terms of legislation (e.g., on information sharing), structure (e.g., level of organisation, key actors), procedures (e.g., case management) and goals (e.g., target groups, role and function). There does not seem to be one general MAW approach in the field. This article identifies the goals, partnership, governance, information sharing, and other issues that can strengthen local MAW approaches. Through the ‘Evaluation and Mentoring of the Multi-Agency approach to violent radicalisation’ (EMMA) project, the question ‘What works under what conditions?’ will be assessed in each country by means of a realist process evaluation. As part of the project, a practical self-evaluation tool is being developed for local officials that will be widely applicable across different MAW approaches in Europe.
Lieven Pauwels
added 6 research items
Several models have been suggested for studying (self-reported) aggression. Less frequently, these theories are empirically applied to explain individual differences in political aggression. The present study examines the role of distal, intermediate and proximate mechanisms in a net-sample of 6020 young adults. Using log-linear structural equation modelling, the independent effects of cumulative social integration, perceived personal and group injustices and low self-control are assessed. It is assumed that these factors contribute to the ‘crystallization of discontent’ by fostering religious authoritarianism, political powerlessness, support for extremist beliefs and online exposure to extremist content. Support for extremist content and online exposure to extremist content are strong predictors, and function as different routes towards political aggression. The results support an integrated approach towards the study of political aggression. Implications for future studies are discussed.
The events of 9/11 gave rise to an increase in studies on political violence and terrorism. Horgan (2005), Bouhana & Wikström (2010) postulated that the increase in publications has not led to an increase in empirical studies of pull and push factors of participation in extremist groups. Horgan argues that theoretical cloudiness around the concepts of extremism and terrorism impedes our understanding of the phenomenon and its causes. Some scholars have, however, attempted to integrate fragmented knowledge in a theoretical framework. The present inquiry builds upon insights derived from theoretical and empirical contributions regarding the participation in gangs and violent extremist groups to propose an integrative framework useful for studying participation in right-wing disruptive groups. To test the integrated model, a series of SEM models were run for testing the strength of direct and mediator effects of perceived injustice, anomia, authoritarianism and thrill-seeking behaviour. We test to what extent feelings of superiority, Flemish nationalism and ethnocentrism mediate these effect and have consequences for moral support for right-wing extremism, exposure to racist peers and participation in right-wing disruptive groups. The analyses are based on a web survey (N = 723) among adolescents and young adults in Flanders, Belgium.
Lieven Pauwels
added a research item
Several models have been suggested for studying (self-reported) aggression. Less frequently, these theories are empirically applied to explain individual differences in political aggression. The present study examines the role of distal, intermediate and proximate mechanisms in a net-sample of 6020 young adults. Using log-linear structural equation modelling, the independent effects of cumulative social integration, perceived personal and group injustices and low self-control are assessed. It is assumed that these factors contribute to the 'crystallization of discontent' by fostering religious authoritarianism, political powerlessness, support for extremist beliefs and online exposure to extremist content. Support for extremist content and online exposure to extremist content are strong predictors, and function as different routes towards political aggression. The results support an integrated approach towards the study of political aggression. Implications for future studies are discussed. Keywords Low self-control, online exposure to extremist content, perceived injustice, political aggression, support for extremist beliefs
Lieven Pauwels
added 3 research items
One of the priorities on the political agenda in Belgium is the approach of radicalization in prison. With a modified prison policy and the implementation of disengagement and de-radicalization programs during detention, the government tries to prevent detainees from radicalizing. The question is what the concrete content is and/or should be of such disengagement programs and to what extent they are effectively achieving their goal? In order to answer these questions, we look at the disengagement programs of three European countries: Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany. Based on these international insights and expertise, we identify a number of ‘good practices’ for the Belgian situation. Although the Belgian federal and Flemish government have taken a number of initial steps, it is clear that there is still much work to be done.
Lieven Pauwels
added a research item
In the present study, the interaction between specific measures of endorsement for extremism (e.g. endorsement for religious, left-wing or far-right extremism), thrill-seeking, and active online exposure to extremism via social media with regard to the explanation of politically and / or religiously motivated aggression is investigated. While the relationship between exposure to crime-prone contexts and aggression has been studied widely, no previous study has explicitly demonstrated the conditional effects of these factors in a survey of young adults and with regard to political aggression. This study therefore extends the existing literature by testing propositions derived from the General Aggression Model, a well-established theory of aggression. The unique contribution of this study is that it is based on distinctive measures of endorsement for extremism (left-wing nationalist / separatist and religious extremism) and that it focuses on the differential effect of exposure to extremist content online. We make use of a large-scale web survey of young adults in Belgium.
Lieven Pauwels
added 13 research items
The purpose of this study is to investigate the interrelationships among ethno-centrism, authoritarianism, anomia, the lack of confidence in the criminal justice system, punitiveness and support for vigilantism in a cross-sectional sample of 1,078 Belgian university students enrolled at Ghent University during the academic year 2009-2010. The emphasis lies on confidence in procedural justice or perceived procedural fairness, a specific type of organisational justice perception that reflects how fairly organisational procedures of the criminal justice system are perceived. First, it is assessed to what extent ethnocentrism, authoritarianism and anomia can equally explain individual differences in perceived procedural fairness of the criminal justice system, punitiveness and support for vigilantism. Ethnocentrism, anomia and authoritarianism are from a theoretical point of view hypothesised as exogenous variables that especially (but not exclusively) have indirect effects on public support for vigilantism mainly because of their effects on perceived procedural fairness in the criminal justice system and punitiveness. Finally, it is investigated to what extent punitiveness can be seen as the key mediator of the effects of all exogenous mecha-nisms (ethnocentrism, authoritarianism, anomia) and perceptions of procedural fairness as an endogenous mechanism on public support for vigilantism. Direct and indirect effects between latent variables are assessed using a structural equation modelling approach (full LISREL models).
Met de vraag of er plaats is voor ‘radicalisme’ in onze democratische maatschappij willen we aandacht besteden aan de mate waarin (verregaande) maatschappijkritiek mogelijk is in onze hedendaagse samenleving. In een tijdgeest waarin de burger aan mondigheid heeft gewonnen, duiken vragen op over grenzen met betrekking tot het toelaatbare. Welke grenzen worden daarbij getrokken, op basis van welke criteria en hoe worden die grenzen bewaakt? Het richt meteen onze aandacht op diverse processen van radicalisering in onze samenleving waarbij gewelddadig extremisme en terrorisme die daar mogelijk uit kunnen voortvloeien slechts een deelaspect zijn. We benaderen dit onderwerp zo veel mogelijk in de breedte.
In juni 2012 deden zich in Molenbeek rellen voor, met als hoogtepunt de arrestatie van de woordvoerder van Sharia4Belgium, Fouad Belkacem. in dit artikel gaan we in op de politieke discussie die hieruit voortvloeide, meer precies op de reactie van de minister van binnenlandse zaken, en een aantal parlementsleden die erin bestond de extremistische groepering Sharia4Belgium te willen verbieden op basis van de wet op de private milities en dus de wens om het lidmaatschap van de vereniging strafbaar te stellen. Dit wetgevend initiatief werd evenwel zonder voorwerp toen de vereniging zichzelf in oktober 2012 ontbond. We stellen het in deze bijdrage nog anders: we maken duidelijk hoe een politieke (louter punitieve) reactie op deze groepering diens bedoelde effect niet heeft bereikt. Meer nog: we poneren de stelling dat aan de problematiek van de aanpak van extremistische organisaties hiermee geen adequaat antwoord werd gegeven. Blijkbaar heeft de overheid weinig andere inspiratie bij het bedenken van maatregelen en komt ze meestal uit bij een louter punitieve reactie
Lieven Pauwels
added 3 research items
The present study aims at explaining individual differences in self-reported right-wing extremist violence. While violent extremism is highly debated, only a few criminological studies explicitly test ideas about triggering mechanisms of violent extremism. To this purpose, the present study integrates two different frameworks: a perceived injustice and group threat initiated model and a self-control initiated model. We investigate several intervening mechanisms. To test the integrated model, a series of SEM models were run for testing the strength of direct and mediator effects of perceived injustice, authoritarianism thrill-seeking behavior, feelings of superiority, Flemish nationalism, ethnocentrism, moral support for right-wing extremism, and exposure to racist peers on violent extremism. The analyses are based on a web survey (N = 723) among adolescents and young adults in Flanders, Belgium. Results indicate various direct and mediator effects between both perceived injustice and violent extremism, and between self-control and violent extremism. The model thus reveals the complex and intricate ways in which violent extremism can be triggered. Key words: Perceived injustice, right-wing authoritarianism, thrill-seeking behavior, extremist beliefs, extremist violence.
Over religie, geweld en extremistische morele overtuigingen. Wat is de rol van religieus autoritarisme en gepercipieerde onrechtvaardigheid? Handboek Politiediensten, losbladige publicatie, aflevering mei 2017 Over religie, geweld en extremistische morele overtuigingen. Wat is de rol van religieus autoritarisme en gepercipieerde onrechtvaardigheid? Lieven Pauwels en Maarten Boudry Abstract: In deze studie onderzoeken we de relatie tussen religieuze affiliatie, het persoonlijk belang van religie en gewelddadig extremisme. We toetsen de effecten van diverse processen die vaak aangehaald worden in de literatuur. Aandacht wordt besteed aan de rol van gepercipieerde onrechtvaardigheid, religieus autoritarisme, extremistische religieuze overtuigingen en contact met extremisten. De analyses in deze studie zijn gebaseerd op de gegevens verzameld in het kader van het Radimed-onderzoek (PAUWELS et. al., 2014). Deze studie bestond uit een grootschalig survey onder jongeren uit de hoogste graad van het secundair onderwijs en jonge adolescenten in uiteenlopende bachelor-en masteropleidingen. Deze analyses zijn gebaseerd op de antwoorden van 4000 respondenten tussen 16 en 24 jaar oud. Een reeks van regressiemodellen suggereren dat, bij wie zichzelf tot een religieuze groep rekent (Christendom en Islam), het subjectieve belang van religie significant samenhangt met zelfgerapporteerd politiek en religieus getint geweld, en met extremistische morele overtuigingen (i.e. de morele goedkeuring van geweld voor religieuze doeleinden). Belangrijke factoren die deze relatie kunnen verklaren, zijn (1) gepercipieerde onrechtvaardigheid, (2) religieus autoritarisme en (3) zelf actief contact zoeken met extremisten. De betekenis van deze resultaten wordt bediscussieerd. Trefwoorden: zelf gerapporteerd politiek of religieus getint geweld, extremistische overtuigingen, religieus autoritarisme, gepercipieerde onrechtvaardigheid, religie 1. Inleiding en probleemstelling De relatie tussen religie en criminaliteit is complex, en dat heeft met vooral te maken met de invulling van de begrippen 'religie' en 'criminaliteit'. Religie is een multidimensioneel begrip, dat bestaat uit objectieve en subjectieve componenten (MOREIRA‐ALMEIDA ET AL., 2006). Objectieve componenten verwijzen naar religieuze affiliatie (lidmaatschap van een religieuze groep of stroming, bijwonen van erediensten of rituelen), terwijl de subjectieve component slaat op de mate waarin men persoonlijk belang hecht aan religieuze overtuigingen, 'Criminaliteit' is strafbaar gedrag, gezien vanuit juridisch oogpunt. Achter die juridische constructies gaan echter handelingen schuil met reële en