The History of Jihadism in Europe and its Evolution, 1989-2021

Apr 13, 2021, 12:00 pm1:00 pm
Zoom webinar
Free and open to the public



Event Description

Recent jihadist attacks have roiled a number of European Union countries and made newspaper headlines. Little attention, however, has been paid to the specific history of jihadism in Europe or to the social and political geography that its followers occupied as they joined jihadist movements in Syria and Iraq in the last decade. Their movement to the Middle East has generated valuable information for interpreting the phenomenon of jihadism, as a nexus of political, religious, ideological and socioeconomic factors. For instance, between 2012 and 2018, 90 percent of European jihadists in the Middle East hailed from six countries, each different in size, social fabric, politics and immigration history. They are:  France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. This talk will present the European areas in which jihadism emerged, the genesis of this movement in the late 1980s and its evolution until today.  It will illustrate that the war in Syria and Iraq as well as the implementation of ISIS's “Caliphate” project were an extension and culmination of similar dynamics to be found in Europe.


Hugo Micheron earned his PhD in Political Science from the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris in 2019. In September 2020 Dr. Micheron joined Princeton University as a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for Transregional Studies. Here he will be pursuing research on the socio-political and socio-religious changes in the Levant and Iraq after the demise of the Islamic State (ISIS) and their implications for the Euro-Mediterranean region. Dr. Micheron’s PhD dissertation, titled “The Lands of Jihad: neighborhoods, prisons, and the Levant. A Political Sociology of West European Jihadism (1989–2019),” is the result of in-depth sociological surveys in French and Belgian neighborhoods affected by jihadist recruitment. Dr. Micheron’s doctoral research constitutes the largest qualitative and quantitative social science study on French-speaking jihadism. Dr. Micheron has taught at Sciences Po and the ENS and is co-teaching a course at Princeton on jihadism.

The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia (TRI)