(George Mason University)
Baurjan Safi (General Assembly)
Paper long abstract:
When Central Asian youth read foreign coverage of their co-nationals in the United States or Europe, it is often in the context of radicalization, militancy, and terrorism. Regrettably, while foreign audiences are repeatedly exposed to narratives of Central Asian militancy, Central Asians themselves are rarely afforded any real voice in these US and European portrayals of militancy. Our study offers an alternative to what has thus far been a decidedly one-sided conversation. Using a mixed methods approach, we study what Central Asian youth say about foreign narratives of radicalization. We explore, through the use of data analytics, online discussion forums as well as websites like vKontakte in an effort to establish how 'networked' Central Asian youth view US and European media coverage of terror. And through structured interviews we explore the potential causal reasons for why Central Asian youth either agree or disagree with this media coverage.
Youth, Religion, and Questions of Radicalization