PRIME Youth in a nutshell

"Nativism, Islamophobism and Islamism in the Age of Populism: Culturalization and Religionization of What is Social, Economic and Political in Europe" analyses the current political, social, and economic context of the European Union, which is confronted by two substantial crises, namely the global financial crisis and the refugee crisis. These crises have led to the escalation of fear and prejudice among the youth who are specifically vulnerable to discourses that culturalise and stigmatize the “other”.

Young people between the ages of 18 to 30, whether native or immigrant-origin, have similar responses to globalization-rooted threats such as deindustrialization, isolation, denial, humiliation, precariousness, insecurity, and anomia. These responses tend to be essentialised in the face of current socio-economic, political and psychological disadvantages. While a number of indigenous young groups are shifting to right-wing populism, a number of Muslim youths are shifting towards Islamic radicalism. The common denominator of these groups is that they are both downwardly mobile and inclined towards radicalization. Hence, this project aims to scrutinize social, economic, political and psychological sources of the processes of radicalization among native European youth and Muslim-origin youth with migration background, who are both inclined to express their discontent through ethnicity, culture, religion, heritage, homogeneity, authenticity, past, gender and patriarchy. In exploring the socio-economic, political and psychological aspects of radicalisation among the European youth, our main question is: How and why do some European citizens generate a populist and Islamophobist discourse to express their discontent with the current social, economic and political state of their national and European contexts, while some members of migrant-origin communities with Muslim background generate an essentialist and radical form of Islamist discourse within the same societies?  

In order to understand and explain the relationship between Islamophobism and Islamism emerging in both national and transnational spaces, the field research will comprise of in-depth interviews with native youth and Turkish and Moroccan-origin youth in Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.   This project will be carried out by Istanbul Bilgi University’s European Institute between 2019 and 2023.  

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement no. 785934.