Exploring the legal and social dimensions of radicalization

Dates: December 3, 2014
Location: Ottawa, ON

In this TSAS workshop, we concentrated on two major research projects that are being established through funding provided by the Canadian Safety and Security Program. The first investigates the processes whereby individuals consider becoming ‘foreign fighters’, while the second focuses on internet forum conversations where individuals circulate extremist world views. The workshop was designed to support these projects. Each of these topics raises important legal issues and brings the question of state capacity to the forefront. For example, should governments revoke the passports of individuals who express an interest in joining a militant organization in another part of the world, such as ISIS? Or, when thinking about the internet, how do we define the distinction between ‘free’ and ‘dangerous’ speech? Does the state have the right and the capacity to intervene in these instances? The topics also raise fundamental social questions. For example, some governments have established programs to re-integrate returned ‘foreign fighters’ (and, similarly, radicalized individuals who have been discharged from prisons). How do these programs work, and are they effective? Finally, how should research on these issues be conducted, particularly in light of the oversight of ethics review boards and their expectations?

The morning portion of the workshop was dedicated to the question of ‘foreign fighters’, and the afternoon on the internet as a platform for encouraging extremist violence. The day closed with a presentation by the RCMP on the new CVE program.


Explorer les dimensions légales et sociales de la radicalisation
Tenu à Ottawa, en présence de chercheurs affiliés au TSAS ainsi que de représentants de sept ministères et agences du gouvernement du Canada, cet atelier d’une journée a examiné les aspects légaux et sociaux de la radicalisation vers la violence. Les deux premières sessions ont été conçues pour appuyer deux nouveaux projets de recherche TSAS sur la lutte contre la violence extrémiste, financés par le Programme canadien pour la sûreté et la sécurité (PCSS) : 1) la tendance émergente des « combattants étrangers »; et 2) le rôle des forums en ligne dans le processus de radicalisation. Ces sessions ont appuyé le lancement formel de deux projets de recherche TSAS.

En plus de ces deux sujets, le nouveau programme de « lutte contre l’extrémisme violent » de la Gendarmerie royale du Canada (GRC) a été présenté.

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