Current Institutional Affiliation
Project Officer (Policy), Melaleuca Refugee Center

Award Information

Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa: Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Fellowship 2016
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
International Relations, Murdoch University
Acculturation and the Radicalization of Young Women in Kenyan Universities

The attraction of young women to Islamist extremist groups is a puzzling and worrying trend in contemporary political studies. Over the past two years, there has been a steady increase of young women, from different parts of the world, who have joined extremist groups and engaged in terrorist activities. In spite of this, an exploration of extant literature reveals that most studies investigate how and why young men are radicalized to the point of extremism because of their visibility in violent activities. In cases where women are briefly mentioned, they are usually depicted as "passive, helpless and subordinate victims" of the radicalization process (OSCE, 2013). These stereotypes cloud the findings that have been made in previous research making it difficult to fully understand the process of radicalization and develop strategies for de-radicalization. Indeed, counter-extremist policies usually draw inferences from these findings and are therefore, designed to mitigate the socio-economic factors that may propel young men towards extremist behavior. The proposed study will digress from this popular view by investigating the effects of counter-extremist policies on young women. Through its investigations, the study will offer new insights on the strategies for de-radicalization that will be beneficial to scholars as well as state and non-state agencies that are involved in countering violent extremism.