O diplomat of great nation Hybrid — contact: hybrid.diplomat «at» gmail.com

Juhaha: Blown Up and Away by Marc Sageman’s “Brilliant Lecture”

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Juha, the HD’s resident EXPERT on all things political violence, attended the Marc Sageman lecture and offered his immediate pre-blog analysis below. Be sure to check his blog for the FULL WRITE-UP in the coming days… Unfortunately the HD couldn’t attend.


‘Understanding terror networks’ was the topic, i.e. understanding the emergence of extremist violence in Western societies. He was articulate, detached and generally quite thoughtful in presenting his argument. A rare pleasure when going to think tank events on terrorism. Knew the man by reputation but seeing him speak live was a treat.

Here’s a few bullet points on how I understood his lecture:

-Political violence normally emerges in a specific counter-cultural context, which entails a active core group who has utopian ideal of what society should be like, and rejects the society and the culture which it inhabits (and if they are foreigners, also their parent society/culture).

-This leads to two types of ‘radicalisation’: violent extremism (think particularly nasty political actors which do not exhibit violent behaviour) and extremist violence.

-These active groups emerge from counter-cultural blobs (a loose, amorphous group of people) which share a feeling of alienation from their host society, who do not necessarily act upon it, and the groups are lead by societal entrepreneurs, who share a feeling of moral outrage by the failure of the non-violent forms of the counter-culture to have an impact. Hence, the go from violent extremism to extremist violence.

-These social entrepreneurs become the guardians of their imagined communities, develop a martial identity and essentially become self-perceived ‘soldiers’.

-Their activities are shifting more to the online domain, which has also seen the inclusion of females and adolescents to these active groups, some of which exist solely online and produce ‘lone wolf’ attacks.

I think those would be the main points.


Written by hybriddiplomat

July 13, 2010 at 23:47

One Response

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  1. […] will remember Juha for his analysis on the Marc Sageman’s lecture on political violence. Well, he’s back– this time […]

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