Jelle van Buuren
Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs. His research interests lie in, among other things, European police cooperation, intelligence cooperation and border management. He is currently researching what role conspiracy thinking is playing in processes of delegitimisation.
Extension number: 8764.
Leiden Safety and Security Blog
Jelle van Buuren is an Assistant Professor at Leiden University - Institute of Security and Global Affairs.
Fields of interest
• European Police Cooperation
• (European) Intelligence Cooperation
• Border Management
• Security, New Technologies and Surveillance
• Private Security
• Conspiracy thinking
• Online/Offline activism Teaching activities
• Courses in the Master Crisis and Security Management
Target The Hague - Lone Wolves and the Loss of Political Legitimacy
During the last ten years threats against politicians and officials in the Netherlands have dramatically increased. Not only local governors, majors and police officers are being harassed by angry citizens, also national ministers, members of parliament and national politicians are being threatened and attacked.
Often these threats are being executed by ‘lone wolves’: individuals who are not affiliated with known terrorist or activist organisations and networks, but seem to be motivated by rather diffuse feelings of fear, hate or a fundamental distrust in the state. In their eyes the state is the main source of all kinds of societal and individual problems and the deliberate producer of uncertainty and insecurity.
The master narrative of the state (‘the democratically elected government is the holder of the legitimate monopoly of force and authority over its citizens') is being rejected and replaced by lone wolves’ own narrative that delegitimizes the state and legitimizes the threats and the use of violence against representatives of the state.
The purpose of the PhD-research is to research and understand what role conspiracy thinking is playing in these processes of delegitimation and the possible emergence of violent actions.
Further, the research is aimed at understanding the relationship between conspiracy thinking, decline of trust in authorities (ranging from political authorities to experts and academic knowledge) and the repercussions this can have for the relationship between authority, governance and citizens in temporary societies.
The research will look into the way lone wolves articulate their distrust in the state, what sources inspire their thinking and what was the tipping point in their loosing faith in the official master narrative of the democratic state.
The question is whether lone wolves are to be understood as the seismographers of a general decline in political legitimacy or a more general societal trend characterized by a decline in respect, authority and appreciation. And if that’s the case, what explanations could be found for this decline of political legitimacy?