An Interdisciplinary Framework to Assess the Radicalization of Youth Towards Violent Extremism Across Cultures
Costanza, William Anthony
Ambrosio, Francis J
Harre, Horace R
The search to understand contemporary terrorism has led researchers to increasingly focus their attention on the radicalization process as a means to gain insight into how individuals become susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations. There has been an unending search to identify a set of universal principles that would define the essential nature of radicalization and thereby provide insight into the psychology of individuals who constitute the pool of potential terrorist recruitment candidates. This effort has been primarily carried out by Western scholars theorizing about radicalization from a narrow Western causal-based reductionist perspective. Unfortunately, the product of these efforts has often been characterized as ambiguous and contradictory.The intent of this study is to provide an alternative perspective to examine the radicalization process that rejects the causal paradigm in favor of a discursive approach that focuses on understanding psychological phenomena as revealed in discourse. To this end, this study offers an interdisciplinary framework using discursive psychology as a mode of explanation to better understand how radicalization may occur at the individual level in various sociocultural contexts as a product of lived experience . The framework employs positioning theory as an analytic tool to examine discursive exchanges that may potentially provide insight into the unfolding pathways that may lead an individual towards radical beliefs. These dialogic encounters are examined within a narrative context that serves to transmit beliefs, establish norms, delineate duties and obligations that subsequently aid in uniquely positioning an individual within that person's sociocultural environment.The framework focuses attention on four social structures selected to capture the most proximate influences that subsequently generate an array of life options unique to the individual. The case study method is used to demonstrate and assess the validity of the framework and its ability to provide insight into the radicalization process at the individual level. It highlights the possibility of identifying common features of contexts in which individuals become radicalized while underscoring the notion of the uniqueness and unpredictability of the radicalization of any particular individual. The results of the study supported the contention that the framework would provide a valuable analytic alternative to the approaches currently in use to study the radicalization process.
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The Non-effect of Radicalization Duration on the Propensity for Violent Extremism in the United States Meisel, Collin (Georgetown University, 2018)To assist law enforcement and intelligence personnel in identifying factors that predict violence among known extremists, this study examines the effect that the duration of an ideological extremist’s radicalization process ...