Sarah Marsden, Leena Malkki, Joel Busher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Radicalisation has become a central concept in contemporary security research, whilst preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) is now prominent within national and international security policy and practice, attracting the attention of researchers from different traditions and disciplines. This Handbook aims to map the state of the field of both radicalisation and counter-radicalisation, identifying new directions for scholarship through a wide-ranging perspective covering the history of radicalisation, different analytical approaches to radicalisation, as well as key debates and strategies in counter-radicalisation. This chapter introduces the Handbook. First, it outlines some of the main conceptual issues facing the field, including the different scales at which radicalisation can be studied; the distinction between cognitive and behavioural radicalisation; radicalisation’s relationship to terrorism and violent extremism; the contested models and metaphors that have developed in the field; and emerging intersectional approaches. The discussion then moves on to consider the empirical foundation of research on radicalisation and countering radicalisation and some of its limitations, including its sometimes narrow geographic, linguistic, temporal, and ideological scope; the challenges posed by a lack of counterfactuals and meaningful comparison groups; and the difficulties researchers can face keeping pace with changing societal, technological, and political contexts. Finally, the introduction takes the opportunity to reflect on the practice of radicalisation research including questions of ethics, research integrity, as well as researcher safety and well-being. The vibrant nature of these debates reflects a dynamic field characterised by increased analytical, methodological, and empirical rigour.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Radicalisation and Countering Radicalisation
ISBN (Electronic)9781003035848
ISBN (Print)9780367476847
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023


  • Security and Resilience
  • Social Movements and Contentious Politics


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