Conflict and Violent Extremism: Theories and Evidence

  • Andrew GlazzardEmail author
  • Sasha Jesperson
  • Thomas Maguire
  • Emily Winterbotham


What causes violent extremism in conflict situations, and are violent Islamists a new type of conflict actor? This chapter examines ideology, identity, social networks and grievances as potential causal factors, concluding that all play important contributory roles, but violent extremism is fundamentally a symptom of failures of governance. Islamist violent extremists are often seen to be representative of a new wave of religious terrorism, but there are substantial problems with this argument: religiously motivated terrorism is not new, and some groups using a religious frame are actually fighting for territory or resources. The chapter concludes that a particular strand within Islamist extremism—Salafi-jihadism—is qualitatively different from other terrorist groups and conflict actors. What above all marks Salafi-jihadists out is their attitude to conflict, which they see as an aim in itself rather than as a means to an end.


Greed Grievance Ideology Identity Rationality 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Glazzard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sasha Jesperson
    • 2
  • Thomas Maguire
    • 3
  • Emily Winterbotham
    • 4
  1. 1.National Security and ResilienceRoyal United Services InstituteLondonUK
  2. 2.Centre for the Study of Modern SlaverySt Mary’s UniversityLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of War StudiesKings College LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.National Security and ResilienceRoyal United Services InstituteLondonUK

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