Collective emotions and political violence

Narratives of Islamist organisations in Western Europe

By Maéva Clément

Collective emotions and political violence
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  • Price: £25.00
  • ISBN: 9781526167699
  • Publish Date: Jun 2023
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
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    How do collective actors move from moderate politics to (violent) extremism? Faced with high risks of repression and implosion, they need to legitimate such radical change to keep members and followers committed to collective action. Drawing on the texts, audios, and videos of five Islamist organisations in the UK and Germany in the 2000s and 2010s, the book develops a transdisciplinary theoretical framework and innovative methodological approach to explore how radical changes in activism are mediated. Clément argues that political violence has to feel right, as a collective, for an organisation and its followers to move from moderate activism to (violent) extremism. She shows that organisations mediate this change by performing collective emotions in and through narrative. The book offers a provocative and nuanced account which departs from conventional interpretations of radicalisation and reminds us of the power of emotions.


    'This exciting new book offers original and powerful demonstration of the importance of shared emotions in political activism. Drawing on examples from the UK and Germany, its emphasis on political violence needing to 'feel right' for collectives takes debate far beyond the individualism and idealism of dominant explanatory frameworks. Clément's book will be widely read by scholars and students in Politics, Sociology, and beyond, deservedly so!
    Lee Jarvis, Professor of International Politics, University of East Anglia

    'This outstanding contribution by Maéva Clément brings together two of the hottest topics in IR: emotions and narratives. It convincingly shows how narratives are woven by Islamist organisations in order to aid group radicalisation and legitimise extremism. The book emphasises that humans, including extremists, love storytelling.'
    Alexander Spencer, Chair of International Relations, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg

    'Offering both conceptual depth and empirical detail, Maéva Clément shows how emotions - and in particular the emotional power of group narratives - are crucial to understanding why and how individuals and organisations move from moderate activism to violent extremism. The ensuing insights illuminate the inherently affective relationship between political moderation and escalation. This is an innovative book with important implications for appreciating the linkages between emotions and political violence.'
    Emma Hutchison, Associate Professor of International Relations, The University of Queensland


    Part I: Characterising changes in political activism
    1 Contextualising Islamist organisations in Western Europe (2001-13)
    2 Reconstructing phases of activism: group moderation, radicalisation and extremism
    Part II: Exploring the performance of collective emotions
    3 A theory of emotionalisation in narrative form
    4 The romantic narrative of Western Islamist organisations
    5 Narrative emotionalisation and extremism


    Maéva Clément is a Lecturer in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies at Osnabrück University

    Collective emotions and political violence

    By Maéva Clément

    Hardcover £25.00 / $36.95

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