Leaving peace for war: An exploratory study of Swiss men’s trajectories toward engagement in Arab conflicts

Ahmed Ajil

While the issue of foreign fighting has been very present in Swiss public discourse in recent years, little is known about the actual trajectories of young men who engage in this particular form of political violence. Based primarily on face-to-face in-depth interviews with four Swiss male nationals who travelled to conflict zones in the Arab World, the present analysis offers insights into the first phases of violent engagement, by investigating elements related to grievance formation such as collective memory and moral shocks, and elements facilitating violent action, such as legal cynicism. Further, the role of combat masculinity, a set of values providing guidance on behaviours and attitudes to be adopted in the face of injustice, is explored. Methodological considerations and some implications for policymaking are discussed.

Keywords: foreign fighters, Switzerland, radicalisation, political violence, grievance formation

Vol: 2/2019 - Article 2.3

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18753/2297-8224-138

© the authors 2017-2020. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) Creative commons