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Social Processes in Political Violence

PI: Arie Kruglanski - University of Maryland

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Motivation, Ideology and the Social Process in Radicalization and Deradicalization

Principal Investigator: Arie Kruglanski, University of Maryland

Co-Investigators: Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland; Scott Atran, ARTIS Research; Rich Davis, ARTIS Research; Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, George Mason University; Andrzej Nowak, University of Warsaw; Jeremy Ginges, The New School for Social Research

Years of Award: 2012-2018

Supporting Service Agency: Office of Naval Research

Project Description

It is increasingly apparent that although “kinetic”/operational measures are indispensable in the global war on terror, they cannot comprise the entire solution to the problem of radicalization. To understand why radical groups are appealing and how to counteract them, we need to understand radicalization as a social, cultural, and psychological process. We define radicalization as movement toward the advocacy of/engagement in activities that run counter to widely accepted norms and values, such as disregard for the prohibition of killing uninvolved civilians. Not all those who hold radical attitudes necessarily engage in terrorism, but those who engage in terrorism are likely to hold radical attitudes, that is, attitudes that justify terrorism. This project, therefore, was based on the premise that a viable program to combat violent extremism must understand ways to prevent radicalization, and to reverse it where it has taken root, i.e. to promote effective deradicalization. 

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