Beyond Borders: Subcultural Theory and the Transnational Jihadi Identity in Europe

  • Reem Ahmed
  • Daniela Pisoiu


The contemporary discourse on terrorism has largely evolved in terms of the unit of analysis from organizations and networks to include ‘movements’, ‘communities’, ‘milieus’, or indeed ‘subcultures’. In general, subcultures have been for a long time considered as economically and politically marginal, emerging out of frustration with the impossibility to adapt to mainstream standards and to more generally be successful. Recent scholarship has acknowledged the autonomous, rather than deterministic nature of the jihadi subculture and, more importantly, their increasingly strong political involvement drawing on a transnational identity. Individuals living in various European countries relate less to their national or ethnic identity but see themselves more as part of a global community of believers. This chapter traces back the emergence of social movement and subcultural approaches to radicalization and illustrates how the jihadi subculture is driven by the need to resist the Western mainstream norms and values and the perceived notion that the West is attempting to manage the conduct of Muslims.


Transnational jihad Subcultures Radicalization 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Peace and Security ResearchUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip)ViennaAustria

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