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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The urban environment: Mirror and mediator of radicalisation

Radicalisation is not an a-spatial, a-material phenomenon. It takes place in streets, apartments, shops or parks and it is materially reflected in fences, buildings, territorial markers etc. But walls, bridges, buildings etc. also exert a gravitational pull on the decision which playground to prefer, where to hide in the event of trouble and the likeliness of meeting 'others'. In short, social conditions and urban environments shape each other.

It seems plausible that such processes are similar, but not identical, in cities with "earlier" and "new" patterns of radicalisation. A systematic assessment of this assumption would help a wide range of actors – who will be proactively involved in the research process – to create cities that facilitate amicable encounters between different groups, thereby tackling some of the key conditions of stereotypisation and radicalisation.

This project therefore maps existing knowledge in various disciplines about these dynamics and it investigates the ground-level situation in four cities: Belfast and Beirut as examples of "earlier" patterns of contestation, although with different recent developments and different religious connotations. Berlin and Amsterdam represent "new" patterns of radicalisation in the form of Neo-Nazi mobilisation and extremist tendencies among Muslim youths.