Radical Thought among the Young: A Survey of French Lycée Students


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France experienced an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks in 2015. Following these tragic events, social science researchers felt the need to undertake new work to better understand the dynamics of this new radicalism. This book is the result of one of these attempts. A large quantitative and qualitative survey was conducted among French Lycée students in order to gather substantive information and propose an interpretation of the penetration of radical ideas, be they religious or political, among them.

How widespread are these radical ideas? What are the main characteristics of youngsters who share them? Are there links between religious radicalism and political radicalism? How do young people feel about the 2015 terrorist attacks? How do young people use media and social media to keep abreast of and understand radical acts and opinions? Those are the main questions explored in this book.

Contributors are: Vincenzo Cicchelli, Alexandra Frénod, Olivier Galland, Laurent Lardeux, Anne Muxel, Jean-François Mignot and Sylvie Octobre.

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Olivier Galland is Senior Researcher at GEMASS (Sorbonne University and CNRS) in Paris, which he managed until 2018. His research focuses on youth, values and sociology of inequality. A recent publication is Sociologie des inégalités (Armand Colin, 2018), with Yannick Lemel. He is a participant of the European Values Study research group.

Anne Muxel is Senior Researcher at CEVIPOF (CNRS/Sciences Po Paris). She specializes in the study of political and civic attitudes and behaviour and has worked for many years on the phenomena involved in building political and social identities. She currently works on the relationships between young people, politics and citizenship in France and beyond. Her recent publications are Politiquement jeune (Editions de l’Aube, 2018) and, with Bruno Cautrés, Histoire d’une révolution électorale (2015-2018) (Editions Classiques Garnier, 2019).
 List of Illustrations
 Notes on Contributors
  Olivier Galland and Anne Muxel
Prologue: Field Work Diary
  Alexandra Frénod

1 Radicalism in Question
  Olivier Galland and Anne Muxel

2 Religious Radicalism: from Absolutism to Violence
  Olivier Galland

3 Students’ Reactions to the 2015 Paris Attacks
  Jean-François Mignot

4 Political Radicalism: between Protest and Violence
  Anne Muxel

5 Deprivation, Discrimination and Radicalism
  Laurent Lardeux

6 Conspiracy Theories and Informational Radicalism
  Vincenzo Cicchelli and Sylvie Octobre

  Olivier Galland and Anne Muxel


This book will appeal to students and academics interested in topics such as radicalism and violence, extremism, youth, religious and political orientations, and the use of social networks.
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