Norwegian version

Public defense: Marius Linge

Marius Linge will defend his thesis: “Islam in Everyday (Street-)Life; Identities, Rituals, Redemption and (De-)Radicalization” for the degree of PhD in Educational Sciences for Teacher Education.

Trial Lecture

The trial lecture starts at 10:00. Please do not enter the room after the lecture has begun.

Title: “Using research on Islam in everyday (street-)life in education. Pedagogical perspectives and practical strategies”.

Public defense

The candidate will defend his thesis at 12:00. Please do not enter the room after the defense has begun.

Title of the thesis: “Islam in Everyday (Street-)Life; Identities, Rituals, Redemption and (De-)Radicalization”

The defense is also available via zoom

Join the webinar (oslomet.zoom.us)
Passcode: 022023 
Webinar ID: 611 3722 6516

Ordinary opponents

Leader of the public defense

Finn Aarsæther, Vice Dean for Education, Faculty of Education and International Studies, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

Supervisors

Main supervisor: Professor Sveinung Sandberg, University of Oslo

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor (r) Lars Gule, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University

How to oppose ex auditorio

Please inform the leader of the defense if you wish to oppose ex auditorio during the break, before the second opponent begins.

For questions regarding the trial lecture and public defense, contact the PhD administration at the faculty.

Publication of the approved PhD thesis

Request a copy (PDF) of the PhD thesis by e-mail. Include the name of the PhD candidate.

  • Summary

    Like other European countries, Norway has a small but visible Muslim minority. As a result of politico-religious conflicts in the Middle East and a series of critical transnational events spanning from the Rushdie affair in the 1990s to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in the 2010s, young Muslims growing up in Europe have increasingly been described as a social problem in public discourse. Marginalized individuals who become devout Muslims are labelled Islamists or potential terrorists. 

    This PhD dissertation surpasses such simplifications by exploring the Islamic practices of young Muslims and men with criminal backgrounds who (re-)turn to Islam. Studies of both groups generally focus on devout Muslims, particularly marginalized individuals whose paths to militant Islam are highlighted. This dissertation adds new insights to the growing field of research about how the ‘invisible’ majority of ‘ordinary’ young Muslims practice Islam in their everyday lives. In light thereof, it draws attention to the Islamic practices of Muslims and men with a criminal background who practice Islam softly, rigorously, or militantly as a means of breaking with their criminal lifestyles, which are shaped by feelings of fear, guilt, and stigma. 

    Drawing on insights from the lived Islam literature, which pays attention to how different dimensions of religious practices make sense to people in their everyday lives, I explore how young Muslims and Muslims with a background in street crime make different Islamic practices meaningful in their highly dissimilar lifestyles. In Articles 1 and 2 of this dissertation, I focus on Sunni–Shia identities and Islamic rituals. Depending on different life trajectories and social contexts, the two groups renegotiate identities and rituals as means of living and making meaningful lives. For most of the Muslim men with a background in street crime, the pursuit of becoming a ‘good Muslim’ often implies exposure to different Islamic movements, including jihadism.

    In Article 3 of this dissertation, I draw attention to (re-)conversion narratives. As a means of becoming practicing Muslims and being socially recognized as such, Muslim men with a background in street crime narrate their path from street crime to Islam. While most of them settle on peaceful narratives, jihadism offers a powerful narrative of redemption that appeals to some. In Article 4, I focus on jihadi radicalization. In light of the street–jihadi nexus research, which examines the convergence between street culture and jihadism and has observed that many European jihadists have a street criminal background, I explore the intersection of social practices in street and jihadi milieus. Informed by recent research on street culture and jihadism, which highlights that most street criminals reject violent interpretations of Islam, I analyse how street criminals who (re-)turn to Islam are exposed to, attracted to, and repelled by jihadi actors and ideas.  

    To shed light on the Islamic practices of everyday life, I analyse semi-structured qualitative interviews from two research projects. The first sample consists of interviews with 90 young Norwegian Muslim men and women. The second sample consists of interviews with 25 Muslim men with a background in street crime. Regarding the latter group, the recruitment process in suburban mosques, on social media, and in prisons functioned as a type of ethnographic fieldwork, enriching my understanding of the relationship between street crime and Islam.  

    Empirical findings from the four articles contribute to the understanding of the role Islam plays in the diverging lifestyles of young Muslims and Muslim men with a background in street crime in Norway. By focusing on different dimensions of religious practices, the articles show how the two groups make sense of Islamic practices, from ritual performance to narrative construction, in their everyday lives. As more is at stake for Muslims with a background in street crime whose bodies, tastes, and moralities have been shaped by street life, they are generally drawn to Islamic revival movements and Islamic practices that function as embodied, emotional, and narrative means of resocialization.

    Together, the articles sustain recent corrective approaches to everyday lived Islam, which cut across categorizations such as ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ Islam and ‘devout’ and ‘ordinary’ Muslims, and focus on different dimensions of Islamic practices in the everyday lives of different groups of Muslims. The articles show that different groups of Muslims resort to and customize official Islam, which is prescribed by a wide range of Islamic institutions, movements, and spokespersons, depending on different life trajectories, social contexts, and the changing needs of their social lives. As more is at stake for Muslims with a background in street crime, they are generally more devout and resort to rigid forms of Islam prescribed by different Islamic movements as a means of self-discipline, resocialization, and social recognition. I show that these devotional practices must be understood in light of their everyday (street) lives. 

    These theoretical findings also contribute to, correct, and expand the new crime–terror nexus, which focuses exclusively on street criminals who become jihadists. This dissertation shows that Muslims with a background in street crime generally (re-)turn to Islam as a means of abstaining from violence. While some turn to jihadism, most do not. By shedding light on the spatial, bodily, and narrative confluences of street crime and jihadism, the findings show how practices and experiences of street culture sometimes foster attraction—but far more often foster resistance—to jihadism.