Universität Bielefeld

© Ekrem Duzen


Overview CoRE Network




The Connecting Research on Extremism (CoRE) Network in North Rhein-Westphalia (NRW) focuses foremost on phenomena of extremist Salafism and its radicalization but more recently, also includes research on other manifestations of political extremism. In more detail, the CoRE network was established for the following three compelling reasons. First, the expansion of violent activities associated with (Neo-) Salafist radicalization and extremism has rightly generated a response from a range of scholarly disciplines. Second, several theoretical models exist as well as substantial empirical data. Third, the need for understanding research and policy responses has become evident, including and perhaps foremost to the general public. Therefore, CoRE NRW was created to enhance and intensify collaboration among diffused but essential areas of research.

The Network systematically brings together existing expertise and competencies from a range of fields and institutions and makes their knowledge, current research and findings available for NRW. It is about aligning and synthesizing research findings, identifying gaps in knowledge, initiating research projects and closing the theory-practice gap in an innovative fashion, so that everyone benefits from the research outcomes and that it is widely accessible and beneficial for all. For this purpose, competences are conjoined where science, politics as well as practitioner interact with each other. The aim is to reflect on academic and actionable scientific results and solution-oriented contributions.

The Network is supported by the NRW Ministry of Culture and Science.




Exchange of research and networking is organized through various academic events, such as workshops or conferences as well as an online portal and a scientific service-centre in form of an academic coordination position. Special attention is given to the interdisciplinary research issues. The academics and practitioners represented in this network work from various methodological and theoretical approaches, such as the array of different Salafist discourses (especially in youth culture). They address the issue of the factors underlying (non-) radicalization, the effectiveness of counter-narratives and the conditions promoting the emergence of different forms of extremism. They also address the question of how social and urban spaces favour extremist fields.




I. (Neo-)salafism

  • Violence and (re)orientation towards 'neo-salafist extremism research'
  • (Neo-)Salafism: "Viral" youth culture, gender specific propaganda, social networks, and urban spaces


II. Trends in radicalization and deradicalization in comparative extremism research

  • Role models in comparative extremism research
  • Phenomena, symptoms and dangers compared
  • Radicalization and Deradicalization I: prevention and intervention
  • Radicalization and Deradicalization II: Flucht and migration
  • Radicalization and Deradicalization III: Actors and (re)integration


III. Narratives and counter-narratives

  • Narratives und counter-narratives in the media discourses: between the attraction of jihadism and the real world


IV. Radicalization, extremism and conflicts

  • Phenomena in radicalization and extremism seen as unresolved conflicts: explanations and theoretical approaches



12 June Conference and the theme


The CoRE conference on 12 June 2018 gave researchers, policy-makers and practitioners the opportunity to elucidate, discuss and elaborate on trends in comparative extremism research in the context of phenomena, dangers and symptoms. Specifically, the conference discussed how can phenomena of the Salafist, right-wing and left-wing extremism be compared in order to open up new spaces with comprehensive findings as well as to recognize research potential and gaps. The themes behind were the growing success of right-wing populism, the increase of (re-)nationalization in Europe, the (non) responses against a perceived, left-liberal establishment and the unpredictable attacks of people with radicalized religious or political backgrounds in general also lead to new questions in academia as well as in politics. In this context, another important social phenomenon to look at is vandalism at the G20 meeting in Hamburg or even the societally perceived conflicts caused by the current migration from the Middle East and North Africa that have indicated tensions within or outside the group of migrants. These and other forms have exacerbated the polarization of conflicts and created new modes of radicalization in the respective society. This may differ in their characteristics but has similar causes.

Finally, these identified trends have grown particularly interesting in comparative extremism research when it comes to Muslim or partially Islamized population groups, since it addresses the issue of foreigners in Germany. Within the research on the Salafist milieu, growing controversy surrounds the interaction of actors and their social mobilization and violence, in which religion plays a subordinate role. In addition to the instrumentalization of radicalized religion, this success manifests itself foremost in youth culture.

The Network's events and activities programme for 2018/19 is available here:


© CoRE Coordination, IKG, University of Bielefeld