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Homegrown Radicalisation and Counter-Radicalisation in Western Europe and America (Module)

Module description

*Please note that module information is indicative and is subject to change for future academic years.


This module examines the theories and practice of radicalisation, as well as the policies and approaches aimed at countering it. It mainly focuses on “homegrown” radicalisation and recruitment into Islamist militant movements (al-Qaeda and related groups/networks, including the Islamic State), but also considers right-wing extremist movements, such as neo-Nazis and “Counter-Jihadist” groups. These are discussed in Western Europe and North America, though many of the conceptual – and some empirical – insights can also be transferred to other contexts.

The module consists of three parts:

  • Part I explores the theoretical foundations of homegrown radicalisation, including root causes, ideology, mobilisation and networks.
  • Part II examines the empirical manifestations of homegrown radicalisation in Western Europe and North America, as well as select “places of vulnerability” (prisons, universities and the Internet).
  • Part III discusses counter-radicalisation in theory and practice, and provides an overview of programs and policies in Western Europe and North America.

It aims to provide students with:

• A framework for understanding the concepts of homegrown radicalisation and counter- radicalisation;
• An appreciation of the different approaches and methods that have been used to study these phenomena, and the ability to critically evaluate them
• An overview of how homegrown radicalisation has manifested itself in Western Europe and North America
• An understanding of the integral and increasingly central role conspiracy theories and conspiratorial thinking play in encouraging political extremism and violence
• An introduction to different policy approaches for countering homegrown radicalisation, and the ability to critically evaluate them
• An empirical examination of experiences with counter and de-radicalisation programmes in Western Europe and North America

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the different ways in which the concept of radicalisation can be used.
  • Understand, apply, and distinguish between different conceptual and analytical frameworks related to radicalisation.
  • Critically engage with the theoretical foundations and methodological issues associated with the study of radicalisation.
  • Interpret and assess relevant trends and patterns of homegrown radicalisation in Europe and North America.
  • Recognise and evaluate different approaches and policies towards preventing and/or “reversing” homegrown radicalisation.
  • Contribute to the ongoing debate about countering radicalisation in Western Europe and North America.
  • Engage critically with the literature, and undertake primary research on the subject.

Staff information

Dr Alexander Hitchens*

Teaching pattern

For a Full Year 30-credit module, teaching is typically 2 hours per week over two 10 week terms, so 40 hours of teaching, as well as 260 hours of self-study. Teaching can be split into lectures and seminars, with online flexible delivery options available.

Module assessment - more information

Coursework only*

Key information

Module code 7SSWM053

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 30

Semester Full-year

Study abroad module No