Western street cultures have striking similarities. Their characteristics also seem relatively stable over time. This talk is based on a research project that study changes in street life in Oslo. The study revisits a street drug dealing scene initially studied ten years ago. The people who deal drugs there now are similar to the originally studied group: they are marginalized, ethnic minority youths whose cultural repertoires and references, reasons for dealing, and ways of organizing have changed little in the past decade. However, even seemingly stable cultures are fluid and always in flux. Perhaps the most significant change observed was the role of religion on the street. Islam was once something that acted as a barrier to committing crime. While this role of Islam is still important for many, the presence of jihadist recruiters and the merging of street culture with Western jihadi subculture have opened up for new ways to combine religion and criminal lifestyles. Traits, competencies, and style from street culture can now be combined with religious devotion, commitment, and sacrifice by joining extreme religious groups. A background in 'ordinary' crime, violence and drug use seems to characterize many European individuals recently involved in ISIS related jihadi-violence. In this talk, Sandberg demonstrate how Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of capital, habitus, and field allow for a nuanced analysis of how certain individuals move from street to politico-religious criminality. He shows that 'investments' in street capital can be expended within the field of violent jihadism. Most importantly, he demonstrates the resistance against violent jihadism that emerges from the street.
Sveinung Sandberg is professor in Criminology at the University of Oslo. His research focuses on processes of marginalisation, violence, masculinity, legal illegal drugs, radicalization and social movements. He has pioneered work within both Bourdieusian and narrative criminology. At the moment, he is leading the research project 'Radicalization and Resistance', exploring the relationship between everyday religion, extremism and street culture.