Simon Cottee

Academic and Author

The Western Jihadi Subculture and Subterranean Values

This article draws on the criminological work of Gresham Sykes and David Matza as a starting point for theorizing the nature and appeal of the western jihadi subculture, defined here as a hybrid and heavily digitized global imaginary that extols and justifies violent jihad as a way of life and being. It suggests that at the centre of this subculture are three focal concerns: (1) Violence and Machismo; (2) Death and Martyrdom; and (3) Disdain of the Dunya. More critically, it argues that these three focal concerns have immediate counterparts in the shadow values of the wider society with which western jihadists are in contention. This argument has important implications for debates over radicalization and the attractions of jihadist activism.

The Fall-Out: How a Guilty Liberal Lost His Innocence

To speak very generally, there are two kinds of left apostate: there are those who break with the left in order to move elsewhere (usually to the right, though not
always) and there are those who repudiate certain beliefs or modes of thinking within the left in order to strengthen other competing traditions within the left, which they see as more authentic and valuable.

Sir Leon’s shadow

Sir Leon Radzinowicz was one of the last great exemplars of modern criminology. Yet he remains, 32 years since his retirement from the Wolfson chair of Criminology at Cambridge, an almost unrecognizably distant figure, largely unexamined, if not completely eclipsed, in the existing histories of the discipline. This, partly, is because many of the questions which Radzinowicz himself confronted are quite different from those which exercise criminologists today. But it is also, more decisively, because Radzinowicz’s status as a thinker has never quite recovered from the critical assault to which his radical antagonists subjected it. My aim in what follows will be to re-examine the validity of that assault and to clarify the significance, if any, of Radzinowicz’s ‘pragmatic position’ for contemporary criminological thought.

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