How Corruption Affects Vulnerability to Radicalization into Violent Extremism: Examining the Case of Kosovo’s Foreign Fighters
AuthorFreberg, Tord Skovly
This thesis seeks to examine how corruption affects the vulnerability to radicalization into violent extremism by examining the process of radicalization, what makes individuals vulnerable to this process, and how these vulnerabilities are affected by corruption. The assumptions made are further examined through the case of Kosovo. Findings made in this thesis suggest that while corruption is not the main driver for radicalization into violent extremism, it has an impact on several socio-economic factors that can create an environment in which people become more vulnerable to violent extremist narratives and the group dynamics of radical and violent extremist groups. These socio-economic factors, called “vulnerability factors” in this thesis, include a lack of good quality education, a lack of employment and economic opportunities and lack of social trust. Using theory and the case of Kosovo, this thesis further argues that corruption can affect these vulnerability factors in a number of ways, such as syphoning funds that were meant for education into private investments, and by affecting the labour market through widespread nepotism and lack of foreign investments. Corruption can also cause isolation and polarization in a society by weakening the trust in state institutions, leading to frustrated expectations and a feeling of hopelessness which are used by radical and violent extremist groups that utilizes grievances created or facilitated by these vulnerability factors in their recruitment. The challenge of violent extremism and radicalization can therefore be seen as a symptom of wrong or lacking development, further exacerbated by high levels of corruption. Because of these consequences, this thesis argues that corruption needs to be seen as a security issue and that incorporation of anti-corruption efforts should be included in strategies that relate to countering violent extremism and radicalization leading to terrorism, and in the academic discourse on the topic.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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