Guide
Neil Ferguson, James McAuley
The Violent Extremist Lifecycle: 12 Lessons from Northern Ireland
Guide
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5 min read
Guide
Sarah Marsden
Deradicalisation Programmes: Introductory guide
Guide
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1 min read
Report
Kim Knott, Benjamin Lee
Ideological Transmission: Political and Religious Organisations
Report
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10 min read
Report
Kim Knott, Simon Copeland, Benjamin Lee
Reciprocal Radicalisation
Report
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1 min read
Article
Samantha McGarry
The Far Right and Reciprocal Radicalisation
Article
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4 min read
Report
Christopher McDowell, Valentina Aronica, Gemma Collantes-Celador, Natasha De Silva
Asylum, Security, and Extremism
Report
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4 min read
Article
Sheryl Prentice
Influence In Extremist Messaging
Article
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4 min read
Article
Suzanne Newcombe
Disengagement: Lessons from Cults and Sectarian Groups
Article
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4 min read
Article
Sarah Marsden
Reintegrating Extremists: ‘Deradicalisation’ and Desistance
Article
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5 min read
Article
Neil Ferguson
Understanding Engagement in Violent Extremism in Northern Ireland
Article
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3 min read
Article
Jasjit Singh
Sikh Activism in Britain
Article
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4 min read
Report
Jasjit Singh
The idea, context, framing, and realities of ‘Sikh radicalisation’ in Britain
Report
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6 min read
Article
Jasjit Singh
Religious transmission among young adults in the digital age
Article
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4 min read
Article
Stephane Baele, Katharine Boyd, Travis Coan
Extremist Prose as Networks
Article
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3 min read
Article
John Horgan
The Lost Boys
Article
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6 min read
Report
Kim Knott, Benjamin Lee
Ideological Transmission: Families
Report
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5 min read
Article
Kim Knott, Benjamin Lee
How does the family pass on religion?
Article
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3 min read
Article
Simon Copeland
Transmitting Terrorism: A Family Affair?
Article
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3 min read
Article
Amanda van Eck Duymaer van Twist
How beliefs may come and go: a brief overview of a ‘cult career’
Article
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3 min read
Article
Aristotle Kallis
‘Reverse waves’: how radical ideas spread and take hold
Article
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4 min read
Article
Benjamin Lee, Elizabeth Morrow
Transmission in context
Article
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4 min read
Article
John F. Morrison
Transmitting Legitimacy and Victimhood: Violent Dissident Irish Republicanism
Article
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3 min read
Article
Lynn Davies
Disrupting transmission of extremist messages through education
Article
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3 min read
Article
Kim Knott
Why transmission?
Article
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3 min read
Staying Engaged in Terrorism: Narrative Accounts of Sustaining Participation in Violent Extremism

Research exploring radicalization pathways and how and why people become involved in terrorism has expanded since the 9/11 attacks. Likewise, over the last decade research exploring de-radicalization and desistence from terrorism has grown and expanded in an attempt to promote exit from extremist or terror groups.

However, research studies on how individuals sustain engagement in terrorism and their involvement with extremist organizations, often in the face of great adversity, are absent from the body of research.

To address this scarcity of research this study analyzed accounts of engagement in violent extremism produced by Northern Irish loyalist and republican paramilitaries in order to explore how their paramilitary lifestyle, perpetration of acts of political violence and the pressure from countering threats posed by rival groups, and the State security forces impacted on them.

The analysis utilized a hybrid of thematic analysis and interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). The themes raised through the analysis reflected the psychological, social and economic hardship associated with this lifestyle. The narrative accounts also illustrated psychological changes associated to engagement in violence and from insulation within tightly knit extremist groups.

As most of the participants faced incarceration during their paramilitary careers, themes also reflected on the impact imprisonment had on them. The themes explored factors that sustained their involvement, including the role of identity development and identity fusion in sustaining their extremism, the impact of insulated group membership, feelings of efficacy, dehumanization processes, community support, and beliefs in the utility of violence.

(From the journal abstract)


Neil Ferguson & James W. McAuley, 2020. Staying engaged in terrorism: narrative accounts of sustaining participation in violent extremism. Frontiers in psychology.
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01338

ISIS Propaganda: A Full-Spectrum Extremist Message

This book offers a comprehensive overview and analysis of the Islamic State's use of propaganda.

Combining a range of different theoretical perspectives from across the social sciences, and using rigorous methods, the authors trace the origins of the Islamic State's message, laying bare the strategic logic guiding its evolution, examining each of its multi-media components, and showing how these elements work together to radicalize audiences' worldviews.

This volume highlights the challenges that this sort of "full-spectrum propaganda" raises for counter terrorism forces. It is not only a one-stop resource for any analyst of IS and Salafi-jihadism, but also a rich contribution to the study of text and visual propaganda, radicalization and political violence, and international security.

(From the book abstract)


Stephane J. Baele, Katharine A. Boyd, and Travis G. Coan. 2020. ‘ISIS Propaganda: A Full-Spectrum Extremist Message’. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780190932459 

Ideological Transmission in Extremist Contexts: Towards a Framework of How Ideas Are Shared

Despite their centrality in academic and policy debates about radicalization and political violence, ideologies have been conceived narrowly, as cognitive, top-down, coherent and systematic.

In general, those who have used the concept of ideology have failed to draw on ideological theory or on recent insights about its practice and embodiment, or location in space and time.

Our interest is less in the content of ideology than in how it is shared by those for whom it matters. We offer an interpretive framework, based on six key questions about ideological transmission: What ideas, beliefs, and values are shared, how and why, by whom, and in which spatial and temporary contexts?

Following a discussion about the methodological pros and cons of the framework, it is tested on a series of interviews with members of Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese religious group responsible for the Tokyo subway attack in 1995. We assess the strengths and limitations of the framework for analysing the various dimensions of ideological transmission before considering what it adds to our understanding of the relationship between extreme beliefs and violent behaviour.

(From the journal abstract)


Kim Knott & Benjamin Lee, 2020. Ideological Transmission in Extremist Contexts: Towards a Framework of How Ideas Are Shared. Politics, Religion & Ideology.https://doi.org/10.1080/21567689.2020.1732938

Radicalization or Reaction: Understanding Engagement in Violent Extremism in Northern Ireland

Over the last decade various theoretical models of radicalization or pathways into engagement in violent extremism have been developed. However, there is a dearth of primary data based on direct contact with violent extremists to test these models.

In order to address this weakness, we analyzed accounts of engagement in violent extremism produced by former Northern Irish loyalist and republican paramilitaries to explore their understanding of how and why they engaged in this seemingly politically motivated violence.

A thematic analysis incorporating aspects of interpretative phenomenological analysis was employed to gain an understanding of these accounts. While the analysis of the interview transcripts produced findings that share similarities with many of the theoretical models, they challenge the importance of ideological radicalization in fueling initial engagement in violent extremism. Instead, the results demonstrate the importance of collective identity, reaction to events, perceived threats, community grievance, and peer and family influences in fueling initial engagement with the armed groups. Insulation and small‐group pressures within the organizations then amplify identity, threat perceptions, and biases, which increase feelings of efficacy and engagement in violence.

Finally, the findings discuss the role of imprisonment in ideologically radicalizing the participants, which in turn allows the paramilitaries to both sustain and rationalize their violent extremism.

(From the journal abstract)


Neil Ferguson & James W. McAuley, 2019. Radicalization or Reaction: Understanding Engagement in Violent Extremism in Northern Ireland. Political Psychology.https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12618

Applying the Study of Religions in the Security Domain: Knowledge, Skills, and Collaboration

Since the 1990s, scholars of religion on both sides of the Atlantic have been drawn into engagement with law enforcement agencies and security policymakers and practitioners, particularly for their expertise on new religious movements and Islam. Whilst enabling researchers to contribute to real-world challenges, this relationship has had its frustrations and difficulties, as well as its benefits and opportunities. Drawing on examples from the UK, Canada, and the US, I set out the relationship between religion and the contemporary security landscape before discussing some of the key issues arising in security research partnerships. I then turn to the question of knowledge exchange and translation in the study of religions, developing the distinction between ‘know what’ (knowledge about religions and being religiously literate), ‘know why’ (explaining religions and making the link to security threats), and ‘know how’ (researcher expertise and skills in engagement with practitioners).

(From the journal abstract)


Kim Knott. 2018. ‘Applying the Study of Religions in the Security Domain: Knowledge, Skills, and Collaboration’. Journal of Religious and Political Practice, 4 (3): 354–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/20566093.2018.1525901.

Racialisation, ‘Religious Violence’ and Radicalisation: The Persistence of Narratives of ‘Sikh Extremism

Recent years have seen concerns raised in media and by policymakers about rising levels of ‘Sikh extremism’ and ‘Sikh radicalisation’ in Western Sikh diasporas.

In this article I analyse why these concerns persist, particularly given the general non-violent nature of ‘Sikh militancy’ (Wallace [[2011]]. “Sikh Militancy and Non-Violence.” In Sikhism In Global Context, edited by Pashaura Singh, 122–144. Oxford University Press) and the relatively few incidents of terrorism beyond those which took place during the height of Sikh militancy in the 1980s.

I argue that these concerns are a consequence of an underlying ‘anxiety about anti-assimilationist religious others’ impacted by (a) the racialisation of religious minorities which began in the colonial period, (b) a specific type of ‘Indian secularism’ which frames Indian legislation and media reporting and (c) the post 9/11 securitisation and increased surveillance of Sikh bodies as part of the ‘War on Terror’ with its concerns about ‘religious violence’ and the necessity of the secular nation state to ensure that any such violence is suitably policed.

This article will be of interest to those examining the racialisation and representations of religious minorities in Western liberal democracies and the impact of securitisation policies on these communities.

(From the journal abstract)


Jasjit Singh, 2019. Racialisation, ‘religious violence’ and radicalisation: the persistence of narratives of ‘Sikh extremism’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2019.1623018

Radicalization, the Internet and Cybersecurity: Opportunities and Challenges for HCI

The idea that the internet may enable an individual to become radicalized has been of increasing concern over the last two decades. Indeed, the internet provides individuals with an opportunity to access vast amounts of information and to connect to new people and new groups.

Together, these prospects may create a compelling argument that radicalization via the internet is plausible. So, is this really the case? Can viewing ‘radicalizing’ material and interacting with others online actually cause someone to subsequently commit violent and/or extremist acts? In this article, we discuss the potential role of the internet in radicalization and relate to how cybersecurity and certain HCI ‘affordances’ may support it.

We focus on how the design of systems provides opportunities for extremist messages to spread and gain credence, and how an application of HCI and user-centered understanding of online behavior and cybersecurity might be used to counter extremist messages.

By drawing upon existing research that may be used to further understand and address internet radicalization, we discuss some future research directions and associated challenges.

(From the journal abstract)


Hinds, Joanne, and Adam Joinson. 2017. 'Radicalization, the Internet and Cybersecurity: Opportunities and Challenges for HCI'. In Human Aspects of Information Security, Privacy and Trust, 481–93. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, Cham. https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/radicalization-the-internet-and-cybersecurity-opportunities-and-c

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