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Understanding Pathways to and away from Violent Radicalization among Resettled Somali Refugees

Award Information

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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $593,894)

The overall objective of the proposed project is to understand pathways to diverse outcomes among Somali refugees: why do some embrace greater openness to violent extremism, while others with shared life histories move towards gangs, crime, or resilient outcomes such as non-violent activism? To what degree do these outcomes overlap? The project will empirically examine the principle of multifinality, or pathways leading from a shared refugee experience to multiple outcomes. Such understanding of different trajectories, and the factors that may shape an individuals progress towards these outcomes, would provide critical information to local and state government agencies as they respond to the potential threat of domestic radicalization. The project will examine four aims. Aim 1 is to examine the ways in which various outcomes (radicalization, gang involvement, criminality, and non-violent activism) co-occur or are distinct. Aim 2 is to examine the multifinality of radicalization by comparatively analyzing how experiences of structural disadvantage and social bonds at Time 1 relate to diverse outcomes (as determined by categories identified in Aim 1). Aim 3 is to examine how posttraumatic growth contributes to the overall model predicting membership in outcome categories. Last, aim 4 is to explore the role of interactions with formal community institutions (ex. police, religious institutions) in shaping the developmental trajectories of Somali refugees. The project will pursue the above aims through a longitudinal mixed-methods interview design that builds on our long-standing research collaboration with the Somali community. Data collection will take place in four Somali communities in North America. The project expects to provide empirical evidence of specific modifiable indicators related to changes in openness to violent extremism. Empirical validation of a model that can be used to explain the mechanisms that lead youth to be more or less vulnerable to potential recruitment into terrorist organizations would provide concrete, data driven and evidence-led direction for prevention and intervention efforts of local and state criminal justice agencies.ca/ncf
Date Created: September 26, 2012