Formation of the radical self: Constructs of change in western youth to acts of terrorism on home-soil

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computer and Security Science


The Proceedings of [the] 8th Australian Security and Intelligence Conference, held from the 30 November – 2 December, 2015 (pp. 50-57), Edith Cowan University Joondalup Campus, Perth, Western Australia. Paper Available here.


The terrorist attack on a member of the Police service by a 15 year old boy in late 2015 sent shock waves not only through Australia but also throughout the world as the realisation of Islamic State targeting teenagers becomes a reality. This paper uses a blend of theoretical and empirical evidence to examine how the radicalised self is formed. Insights from various frameworks including: developmental psychology (teenage identity formation and role confusion), Foucault’s technologies of the self, governmentality and sociological issues including the perceived gap between Muslim values and those of the West. Coupled with these theoretical frameworks are empirical insights including the use of grievances and key discourses, radicalisation material as well as the use of future pacing strategies to embed change to acts of violence. Ultimately, recruiters aim to take advantage of teenage identity issues as well as marginalised individuals to help construct a radicalised youth prepared to undertake acts of terrorism on home-soil.



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