New publication on female radicalization

9 September 2020

In her recent publication, entitled "Becoming a female subject via radicalization? The importance of gender in processes of politicization", Dr. Eva Herschinger, Senior Researcher at CISS, analyzes the radicalization of women. For many, radicalization and terrorism do not go together with women, as it contradicts the prevailing notion that women are more victims than perpetrators. However, women like Ulrike Meinhof, Beate Zschäpe or Sally Jones, one of the most important propagandists of the Islamic State (IS), question this notion. In addition, it has long been shown that neither women's participation in terrorist groups nor female radicalization is new or extremely rare.

In the debate about why women become radicalized and resort to terrorist violence, Dr. Herschinger argues that female radicalization can on the one hand be understood as the politicization of women. Radicalized women are increasingly taking part in the discourse of the respective terrorist groups, they are no longer excluded and - especially in the area of ​​propaganda - have an increasing influence. But how does such a politicization of women come about? Using a perspective based on the political theory of hegemony, the article shows that the interplay between constructions of femininity and masculinity is central to and in the radicalization process of women.


Herschinger, Eva (2020) Radikalisierung als weibliche Subjektwerdung? Die Bedeutung von
Geschlecht im Kontext von Politisierung, in: Leviathan: Berliner Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaft, Special issue 35 ("(Ent-)Politisierung? Die demokratische Gesellschaft im 21. Jahrhundert, edited by Andreas Schäfer und David Meiering), Baden-Baden: Nomos, pp. 121-145.


More information (in German) can be found here: