When the Outrage Becomes Personal, and the Urge to Act Unbearable

in Conflict and Society
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Abstract

In this article, I draw on ethnographic data from previous fieldworks among Turkish immigrant families in a Norwegian suburb (2008–2009) and, more recently, on preventative actions against radicalization (2015–2016). As point of departure, I outline two events considered morally outrageous by many of my interlocutors: the Gaza War (2008–2009) and the repression of the Syrian civil uprising in 2011. By contextualizing moral outrage and analyzing certain incidents as “triggers” among people who are already outraged, I aim at providing a better understanding of that emotion’s generic power. I will also give an example of how a “trigger” incident can provide an emotional outlet. In seeing moral outrage as a kind of “prism” through which people negotiate values around right and wrong, good and bad, I will argue that these negotiations might as well result in generating emotional relief and to restored integrity.

Contributor Notes

THERESE SANDRUP is Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. She received her PhD in social anthropology from the University of Oslo in 2013. Her research interests include migration, transnationalism and radicalization, as well as societal security and emergency preparedness. She is the project leader of the research project “Searching for the Unknown: Discourses and Effects of Preventing Radicalization in Scandinavia” (RADISKAN) funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. Email: therese.sandrup@ffi.no

Conflict and Society

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