Anja Kublitz, Associate Professor, Aalborg University

The Rhythm of Rupture: Attunement among Danish Jihadists

Among my interlocutors, the Arab Spring of 2011 was received as a miracle that cut through the existing political order and called upon them to radically change their lives. From one day to the next, they gave up on their criminal careers, turned towards God and decided to travel to the Middle East to take up arms. The majority of young Danish jihadists have grown up in the context of Danish housing projects and in the shadow of their parents’ failed revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa. Based on long-term fieldwork among immigrants in Denmark, this paper explores how my interlocutors attune to the recursive ruptures that always are new again. I argue that sometimes people’s lives are so marked by ruptures that any continuity has collapsed; sometimes ruptures only come as rhythms: as continuous repetition of potential radical change.

Anja Kublitz is an associate professor at the Department of Culture and Globalization, University of Aalborg. For the last ten years, she has worked on how conflicts reconfigure space and time and forge political subjectivities. Empirically, she has explored these questions through studies of Middle Eastern refugees in Denmark. Currently she is heading a research project entitled “Affective Events. An Anthropological Study of the Social Formation of Danish Foreign Fighters” and are part of another research project entitled “Escalation: a Comparative Ethnographic Study of Accelerating Change.” Her publications include “From Revolutionaries to Muslims: Liminal Becoming across Palestinian Generations in Denmark.” International Journal Middle East Studies. 2016, 48:64-86; and (with Lars Højer, Stine Simonsen Puri and Andreas Bandak) “Escalations: Theorizing sudden accelerating change.” Anthropological Theory 2018, 18(1):36-58.

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