Studies in Political Violence, Terrorism, and Radicalization
Background:In late 2005 an inter-ministerial working group dealing with “The Danish Society’s Effort and Preparedness against Terrorism” identified a need for more background knowledge to inform policies, in particular in the area of radicalization and terrorist recruitment. The task of generating this knowledge was entrusted to the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). The Danish government’s “Plan of Action for Countering Terrorism, 2005” provided a research grant to fund a new program: “DIIS Studies in Political Violence, Terrorism, and Radicalization.” The program, which runs from September 2006 through September 2009, is expected to comprise a full-time research staff of five to six persons.
Research topicsDuring the first half of the period the team plans to focus on the nature of al-Qaida inspired terrorism, in particular processes of radicalization in Europe. Building on insights generated during this period, we then proceed to focus on possible counter-measures, and on the effectiveness and possible side effects of existing national and international initiatives to fight al-Qaida inspired terrorism.
Topics are identified in consultation with the Danish Council for Strategic Research as well as with representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense, Justice, Integration, and the Danish Defence Intelligence Service and the Police Security Intelligence Service. The formulation of research design and the actual research is entirely independent, and the conclusions do not necessarily correspond to the views of the ministries involved or any other government agency, nor do they constitute any official DIIS position.
VisionWe aim to contribute towards a better informed democratic debate about the phenomenon of al-Qaida inspired terrorism as it unfolds in Europe. We aim to conduct high quality research, generate new knowledge, and to communicate our findings broadly.
Research strategyOur research strategy relies on two pillars. Firstly, we place a premium on field work and on the compilation and use of primary sources. Secondly, as the field of terrorism research is characterized by a lack of broadly accepted research paradigms, we find it important to explore new theoretical and methodological approaches to throw light on our research questions.
Comparative advantageTo help generate new perspectives and to give DIIS’s Studies in Terrorism and Counterterrorism a comparative edge, the team will actively cooperate with and tap into the expertise of DIIS’s partner institution, The Danish Institute for Human Rights, as well as the sociological and development expertise of other DIIS research units.
Review and quality insuranceWe rely on multiple means to ensure the scientific quality of the research. Amongst them are internal review processes, research seminars conducted in cooperation with our international partners, and external review by a panel of established scholars. Professor Martha Crenshaw, Stanford University, is attached as senior consultant to the program to prompt progressive and continuous development with regard to the quality and relevance of the program’s output.