Ethics and Extremism

Normative Foundations of Extremism and Political Responses

Time: Wed, 18 October 2017 09:00
Place: PRIO, Hausmanns gate 3, Oslo

Attendance is by invitation only

​This workshop will map and analyse the relationship between ethics and extremism in Europe, with an emphasis on right-wing and Islamist extremism. With extremism defined as the deviation from the values of Western societies, the very concept of extremism is arguably about ethics. The workshop will critically examine the connections between extremism and culture, ethics and society – and how understandings of these connections are reflected in political responses to extremism by European authorities. In order to shed light on this topic, case studies and conceptual discussions are invited. The workshop also aims to both outline the ethical potential as well as the pitfalls related to academic and policy oriented research on extremism and radicalisation in Europe today.

​The workshop is organised around 3 key themes:

Extremism and the Cultural

How are ideas of culture, and specifically the idea of a 'European' culture relevant for understanding extremism? In what ways are concepts such as universalism, secularism, tolerance and multiculturalism relevant for how we view the relationship between ethics and extremism?

Extremism and the Ethical

What are the ethical foundations of extremism? How do the ideas 'extremists' have of human suffering influence their actions? How are acts of extremism influenced by other global social movements, as well as modern discourses of humanitarianism and social justice? How is colonialism and past injustice relevant for contemporary debates on extremism and ethics? What are the connections between the global 'War on Terror' and the justification of eventual Islamist and right-wing extremist responses? Do we have to dispense with the frame of constitutional politics to understand extremists and their actions?

Extremism and Society

Are the terms of extremism and radicalisation useful? How do so-called de-radicalisation and counterterrorism programs reflect larger debates on social cohesion, European values and a democratic, public sphere? What is the impact of new technologies on these responses – and on the perceived extremism they respond to? 

We invite contributions on these, and related, questions. Presentations can be based on papers or on ideas in the making. Brief concept papers are invited for potential publication in a new SOURCE journal on Security, Technology and Society (open access, not peer-reviewed). The deadline for submitting your proposals for a presentation (tentatively 10 min) is 18 September. We also invite you to register for active participation without a presentation.  Deadline for registration is 1 October. Please email Ida Birkvad at idabir@prio.org

This event is organised as part of the research and dissemination activities of the SOURCE Network for Research and Development in Societal Security, in collaboration with Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX), and Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technology and Societal Values (NordSteva). SOURCE is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union.