“IS Drew This Dream Picture—Like Floating on a Pink Cloud”: Danish Returnees’ Entry into and Exit from Salafi-Jihadism through Nurtured and Fractured Fantasies

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Since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, an increasing number of European youth have joined Salafi-jihadist milieus in their home countries and/or in the Syrian/Iraqi conflict zone. Some are ardent believers in ending their days as—what they perceive to be—martyrs. Others renege on their commitment, return, and resocialize into conventional society. While engagement, disengagement, and resocialization have each been explored as phases separately within the existing literature, a coherent, criminological study of how those sequences are interconnected has still not been explored in a Danish context from an empirical angle. On the basis of qualitative interviews with three Danish Salafi-jihadist defectors (for example, from the Islamic State), this article unravels the connection and disconnection between engagement, disengagement, and resocialization. The analysis is theoretically informed by David Matza’s theory of drift (1964). However, the theory does have its limitations. As the commitment to Salafi-jihadism entails more than simply an “episodic release from moral constraint”, which defines drift, the informants are only part-time drifters, and here it is argued that the informants are rather entering and exiting a spiraling vortex of Salafi-jihadism. These entries and exits are fueled by the returnees’ nurtured and fractured fantasies.
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)104
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 2022

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