While the Nigerian brotherhoods have become increasingly prominent in the media given the criminal threat they are said to represent, they have not been the subject of any field research in Nigeria or Europe. This media coverage is fueling a growing confusion between the legal and police categorizations that are used to define these brotherhoods and the pan-African practices and discourses of solidarity and emancipation that they promote. The socio-historical approach developed in this study makes it possible to put into perspective the global expansion of confraternities since the 2000s. It offers another perspective on the role of these secret societies and their inclusion in political economies and different territories. In Europe, the Nigerian confraternities are first and foremost social institutions for the youth and the diasporas. They ensure the reproduction of the power of traditional and political elites abroad by capturing incomes linked to migration (remittances), and therefore play a key role in the production of a form of globalization of Nigerian society from below. They participate in the establishment of moral and social institutions from the south of Nigeria in Europe. Behind a discourse of empowerment and solidarity, the confraternities are thus a transnational network which perpetuates a conservative order, a social hierarchy and the inequalities which they help to naturalize.
The French government recently announced a plan to « fight against radicalization », and a series of measures aimed at preventing the passage to violence. Although the term is not entirely new to the French political language, it marks a departure from an anti-terrorism policy justified mainly by a judicial approach and enforced in great part through administrative measures. France is thus moving closer to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, who have developed such policies since the mid-2000s. Yet what is, exactly, the « fight against radicalization »? How can we explain this new approach of the French government? And what can we learn from a decade of experiences of these two European countries? This study shows that the concept of radicalization serves as an effective discourse to legitimize police action beyond its usual areas of competence, investing many areas of diversity management such as education, religion, and social policies. The study traces the diffusion of the discourse through European institutions and analyzes, through the notion of « policed multiculturalism », the effects of its legal, administrative and preventive forms.