Exile Socialization

Policy brief

Harpviken, Kristian Berg (2016) Exile Socialization, PRIO Policy Brief, 7. Oslo: PRIO.

Read this policy brief

For rebel groups operating from exile, the opportunity to build support and recruit fighters through socialization is attractive. Refugees may be particularly vulnerable to such attempts, living with insecurity and uncertainty, often with a degree of seclusion which weakens competing narratives. While influence over the institutions of education is highly prized, socialization takes place in a number of different arenas, ranging from informal personal encounters to the media. The experience of being driven from one’s homeland is good material for cultivating intolerant narratives, at times with violent return to form the ideal state as the ultimate ambition. Hence, the impact of exile socialization may go well beyond the refugee period, to inform inter-group relations, even violence, upon return to the country of origin. A little studied dimension of the so-called ‘refugee warrior’-phenomenon, the inherent risks of militant socialization calls for serious attention.

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