Larsen, Jeppe. ‘Talking about Radicalization’. (2019)

Larsen, Jeppe. ‘Talking about Radicalization’. Nordic Journal of Criminology, vol. 21, Oct. 2019, pp. 1–18.

This article seeks to build a bridge between the criminological tradition of research on hard-to-reach groups and sensitive topics and the tradition of critical research on radicalization. As a result of the hard-to-reach character of so-called radicals themselves, the article analyzes interview experiences with ‘professionals’ working within the prevention of radicalization and other actors. This article discusses the experiences connected to the preparation and unfolding of the interviews on the sensitive topic of radicalization and illustrates how interviews and questions designed to gather knowledge about radicalization processes among Muslims in Denmark often became a discussion about the concept of radicalization itself. This article shows that making use of the concept of radicalization is problematic in interviews as it is embedded in the Danish political discourse on immigration, Muslims and Islam. This article reflects on researcher positionality and how being a white ethnic Danish researcher might have caused an underestimation of how problematic the concept is to people directly involved with it, and that speaking from such a researcher positionality also can make the concept of radicalization seem even more problematic.