CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Following numerous terror attacks in France from 2015 onwards, successive governments have advocated for the creation of “radicalization officers”. These functionaries have been put in place in an increasing number of public administrations throughout France. By studying the case of the “Laicity & Citizenship officers” of the Youth Judicial Protection Service (PJJ), the aim of this article is to examine how individuals have come to navigate the role of being a “radicalisation officer”. Firstly, this paper will seek to show that the context in which these positions were created, the background of the individuals hired as “radicalisation officers”, as well as their position within the administration, can all contribute to the difficulties and tensions which these civil servants must face in the course of their work. Isolated, lacking legitimacy, without a shared expertise and obliged to produce data on radicalisation, these officers find the task of fulfilling their roles deeply taxing. Within this challenging context, this article seeks to show the divergent strategies these agents deploy in the face of the degradation of their overall mission. Drawing on the categories developed by Albert Hirschman, this paper will seek to show that whilst some raise their voice, others prefer to exit, although those radicalisation offers who remain in place tend to stay loyal to their respective local administrations even if they develop a certain weariness.

  • “Laicity & citizenship officers”
  • youth judicial protection service
  • radicalization
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