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Faced with the hypothesis that there is a continuum between Moslem religious identity and the risk of radicalization, what do the French children of Moslem immigrants think? The working-class suburbs, the discontent in the public housing projects there and the effects of globalization are said to constitute a “hotbed” of potential radicals, who, with their protean and multifactorial psychic vulnerability, would see radicalization as a solution for internal problems (Guénoun, 2016). How does this look from the point of view of the clinician working with adolescents? How can this be read in a way that is at once psychoanalytical, anthropological and sociological?
The debate about the place that should be given to religious aspect of jihadism has been going on for a few years not only in the research world but also in the media. The paradigmatic hypotheses of G. Kepel and O. Roy are opposed, with the first emphasizing the “radicalization of Islam” and the second the “Islamicization of radicalness” (Kepel, 2015; Roy, Seniguer, 2015). According to Kepel, to understand jihadism, it is necessary to consider the religious ideology that guides “God’s madmen.” Roy, on the other hand, speaks of “nihilism” and considers terrorism to be a revolt, a misguided and dangerous one, but a revolt nevertheless. It is a revolt by the “damned of the Earth”, to borrow Fanon’s expression, crying out against their marginalization from French society. A central question in this ideological standoff is whether the religious is an inevitable part of the analysis of radical Islamism and jihadism, or just a false consciousness expressing a social and identity malaise that, at other times in history, could have been expressed through other protest ideologies…


There are as many risks of falling into radical engagement as there unique adolescent stories. We have carried out a study of how youths and radicalness are represented in the general population. We analyze a therapeutic encounter with a young Franco-Algerian Moslem woman. Her narrative enables us to show the connections between her quest for identity and the socio-historical context as she sees it, which helps bring together the intra-psychical, the subjective and the collective.

  • radicalization
  • migration
  • identity
  • culture

Les voies de khalthoum

Il existe autant de risques de basculement dans l’engagement radical, que d’histoires singulières des adolescents. Nous avons mené une étude en population générale sur les représentations des jeunes et la radicalité. Nous analysons l’entretien d’une jeune femme musulmane franco-algérienne. Son récit permet de montrer les liens entre sa quête identitaire et le contexte socio-historique tel qu’elle se le représente, ce qui permet d’articuler l’intrapsychique, le subjectif et le collectif.

  • radicalisation
  • migration
  • identité
  • culture

Las vÍas de khalthoum

Los riesgos de bascular en la radicalización son numerosos, tanto como las historias singulares de los adolescentes. Nosotros hemos realizado un estudio en la población general sobre la representación de los jóvenes de la radicalización. También hemos analizado, la entrevista de una joven mujer musulmana franco-argelina. Su discurso, permite de mostrar los vinculas entre las búsqueda de identidad y el contexto socio histórico tal como ella se lo representa, lo cual permite de hacer una articulación entre lo intra-psíquico, lo subjetivo y lo colectivo.

  • radicalismo
  • emigración
  • identidad
  • cultura
Fatima Touhami
Maison des Adolescents de l’Hôpital Cochin
Maison de Solenn
97, bd. de Port-Royal
75679 Paris Cedex 14, France
Adrien Lenjalley
Mayssa’ El Husseini
Marie-Rose Moro
Univ. Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité
92774 Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Translated by
Elizabeth Kelly
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