Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Explaining Transnational Jihad - Patterns of Escalation and Containment

Project description

How transnational jihadist movements tap into local conflicts

Jihadist movements like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda operate transnationally across Asia, the Middle East, the Arab Peninsula and Africa. They have demonstrated an ability to exploit local wars and and tap into local conflicts, while local jihadist movements such as the Taliban or Boko Haram sometimes ally themselves with the transnatioanl brand. The EU-funded TRANSJIHAD project will investigate the process and the circumstances under which jihadist conflicts become transnational and how they can be contained. The project will study transnational jihadism, taking into consideration both religious and political aspects of transnationalization processes. It will compare the rise and fall of jihadist involvement in local and transnational conflicts. The findings will strengthen our understanding of the jihadist transnationalisation processes and contribute with knowledge on transnational conflict resolution.


TRANSJIHAD aims at advancing our understanding of one of the greatest contemporary challenges on the international agenda for peace and security, namely the ability of transnational jihadist movements to tap into local conflicts, hence escalating violence. TRANSJIHAD specifically investigates the questions of how jihadist conflicts become transnational and under what circumstances they can be contained. The project also aims at developing an interdisciplinary analytical framework, which combines micro- and macro level approaches to jihadism, drawing from both Religious Studies, Security Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies.
Methodologically, TRANSJIHAD dissolves the scientific dichotomy between inside- and outside-oriented approaches to the study of transnational jihadist conflicts, widening prevailing scientific understandings of transnationalization processes. The project uniquely combines i) a quantitative examination of transnationalization processes drawing from the Religion and Armed Conflicts (RELAC) dataset based at Uppsala University, ii) comparative case studies of the mechanisms of escalation and de-escalation of jihadist conflicts across Asia, the Middle East, the Arab Peninsula and Africa focusing on the movements of Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Taleban, and Boko Haram, iii) securitization analyses of the macro-level conflict structures that transnational jihadist movements tap into, and finally iv) sociotheological worldview analyses of potential changes in jihadist conflict imagery during transnationalization processes.
With its focus on macro-level conflict structures, TRANSJIHAD also contributes to developing a new framework for thinking about containment, providing an alternative to both the micro-level countering discourses embraced by much of the radicalization research, and the containment thinking that stems from the treatment of jihadist conflicts as civil wars in the peace and conflict literature.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 499 056,00
Ostbanegade 117
2100 Kobenhavn

See on map

Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)