Faculté des lettres

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

Ajil, Ahmed

In: sozialpolitik.ch, 2019, vol. 2, no. 3, p. Article: 2.3

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... More

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    Summary
    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 engage-ment, 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. Meth-odological considerations and some implications for policymaking are discussed.