Definiton of 'extremism' from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press
Definiton of 'extremism' from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus. Cambridge University Press

This workshop will map and analyse the relationship between ethics and extremism in public representations of extremism and in political efforts to fight it. With extremism defined as the deviation from the core values of Western democratic 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 by European authorities. The workshop also aims to identify the ethical potential and pitfalls related to academic research on extremism and radicalisation.

The workshop is organized as part of the research and dissemination activities of SOURCE Network for Research and Development in Societal Security, in collaboration with Nordic Centre of Excellence for Security Technology and Societal Values (NordSteva) and Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX). SOURCE is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union. Please email Ida Birkvad at for questions. The workshop is a closed event, but scholars with a relevant background would be welcome to send a request for participation to Birkvad. As seen from the program below, it also includes an open lunch seminar that is announced separately.


| 09:00 | Welcome

| | --- | --- | | 9:15-10.45 | Extremism and the Cultural
  • Ida Roland Birkvad (PRIO), The suffering of humanity: postcolonial critiques of conceptualisations of the extreme
  • Marta Bivand Erdal (PRIO), The extremist: one of ‘us’?
  • Henrik Syse (PRIO), The extreme and the not-so-extreme: Some reflections on borderlines and culture
  • Torkel Brekke (PRIO/C-REX), Reflections from a historian of religion
| | 11:00-12:00 | Extremism and the Ethical
| | 12:15-13:30 | Countering Violent Extremism in the War on Terror: ethical problems

Public seminar (lunch served from 12:00). See separate event page for registration.
  • Ben Hayes (PRIO), The right to discriminate? Ethics and human rights in CVE policies

| | 14:00-15:30 | Extremism and Society
  • Rita Augestad Knudsen (NUPI/C-REX), The Extremism Risk Guidance and conceptualisations of radicalization
  • Kristoffer Lidén (PRIO), Policing ideas: the counter-democratic effects of technologies for Countering Violent Extremism
  • Reinhard Kreissl (VICESSE), De-radicalisation programmes in Austria: the transformation of politics into social work
  • Sebastian Larsson (KCL), Reflections from research on a Swedish security industry in transformation
| | 15:30-16:00 | Summary and discussion |

As reflected in the program, 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?

SOURCE Societal Security Network

        ![SOURCE Societal Security Network](