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Sacred values, social exclusion, community norms and willingness to fight and die

Hamid, Nafees; (2022) Sacred values, social exclusion, community norms and willingness to fight and die. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Recent meta-analyses of terrorism and radicalisation research have revealed a dearth of mixed methods approaches. Specifically, there is insufficient attempts to combine qualitative and quantitative primary data collection. Moreover, only 0.6% of research published in the top 9 journals on terrorism or radicalisation between 2007 and 2016 contained experiments. This thesis is an attempt to fill this gap by exploring the role of “sacred values” in the process of radicalisation. The work begins with an ethnographic exploration of the Pakistani and Moroccan diaspora communities in Barcelona. The concept of sacred values and their relationship to various indicators of radicalisation are explored through semi-structured interviews. Standard sacred value measures, developed mostly for Western populations, did not work for either population as trading-off even mundane values for personal material benefits was seen as a taboo. This led to the development of a new sacred value measure more suited to collectivist societies where material trade-offs are offered to the group not the individual. The new measure, along with many other measures, were employed in psychometric surveys that were conducted with both populations. For the Pakistani population, 137 surveys were analysed looking for predictors of costly sacrifices. Stepwise multiple regression analyses found that putative-risk factors were: younger age, less education, and lack of private or mosque prayer. The best predictors of costly sacrifices were high perception of threat towards Muslims and support for Islamic supremacism. For the Moroccan population, 535 surveys were analysed looking for predictors of Sunni jihadism. The results found that general radicalisation was the best predictor of Sunni jihadism leading to a large effect size. A series of other factors had a medium effect size in predicting Sunni jihadism and they included youth, personal grievances, pervious criminality, and conspiratorial thinking. A subset from each population that could be categorised as radicalised were then recruited to participate in experimental studies. For the Pakistanis, the sample was made up of 30 supporters of Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the experiment with Pakistanis, participants were led to believe that their peers were not as willing to fight and die as they were for some of their values. For the Lashkar-e-Taiba supporting participants this change in perception of social norms regarding violence led to an overall decrease in willingness to fight and die across values for both sacred and non-sacred values. For the Moroccans, 38 young men who supported causes championed by jihadist groups were recruited. In the experiment with Moroccans, half the participants were made to feel socially excluded using a virtual toss ball game while the other half (control) were included. Those who were socially excluded increased their willingness to fight and die for their non-sacred values only. Future research, limitations in the study design, and policy implications are explored at the end.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sacred values, social exclusion, community norms and willingness to fight and die
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10152912
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