chapter  3
35 Pages

Becoming an Islamist radical: a matter of occupational choice

Answering the question why and how someone would decide for the Islamist radical occupation rather than something else, or, in a more detailed manner, how someone would come to see success or status in the form of being a Mujahid and acting accordingly implies following individual developments along a process, the process of Islamist radical occupational choice. It implies identifying phases of involvement and preoccupation with this particular occupation, capturing lower-level mechanisms or ‘sub-processes’, the interaction between ideas and behaviour and between individuals and their social environment. This is based on the assumption that the radicalisation process does not occur in a vacuum, but within and in interaction with patterns of ideas and behaviour existent around it, including other social processes; and implies several principles:

• that these ideas and corresponding behaviour change over time; • that the radicalisation process is not sui generis, but is a variation of a

process usually existent in society, in this case choosing an occupation; and • that, consequently, motivational variables, i.e. the criteria by which an occu-

pation is chosen, are also variations (in the sense of differently defined in relation to different sets of values) of regular ones existing in society.