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Week 3: Individual Radicalization

Dr. Clark McCauley Bryn Mawr College Radicalization of ideas and actions: The Two-Pyramids Model

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Overview
What is political radicalization? Two-pyramids model of radicalization: - Opinion Pyramid - Action Pyramid Individual Mechanisms of Radicalization Is there a difference between radical ideas and radical actions? What about lone-wolfs? Implications Conclusion

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

What is political radicalization?


Change in beliefs, feelings, and actions toward increased support of one side of intergroup conflict
SDS to Weather Underground Muslims after Soviets into Afghanistan U.S after 9/11

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Two Pyramids Theory


1: Opinion Pyramid 2: Action Pyramid
Why two pyramids and not one?

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Why not one pyramid? Why look at both opinion and action?
The danger of focusing on radicalization or violent extremism is that these terms suggest a single dimension. From radical ideas to radical actions From extreme ideas to violence

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Radicalization of Opinion Pyramid


- Represent radicalization of opinion in a pyramid
Base: individuals who do not care about politics, group, or cause Next level: those who sympathize with group Next level: those who justify violence in defense of the group Top: those who feel a personal moral obligation to take up violence in defense of the group

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Radicalization: Opinion Pyramid

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

- Base: individuals doing nothing for a political group or cause (inert) - Next level: those who are engaged in legal political action for the cause (activists) - Next level: those engaged in illegal action for the cause (radicals) - Top: Those engaged in illegal action that targets civilians (terrorists)

Radicalization of Action Pyramid

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Radicalization: Action Pyramid

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Individual mechanisms of radicalization in action why individual joins a violent group


1. Personal grievance e.g. Chechen Black Widows 2. Group grievance including lone-wolf terrorists Ted Kaczynski, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar 3. Slippery slope Jihadist Next Door Omar Hammami: from Alabama to Toronto to Egypt to Shebab 4. Love friend/relative/lover asks help 5. Risk and Status e.g. Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi 6. Unfreezing e.g. Mohammed Atta in Germany 7. Fear safer in armed group e.g. Colombia, prison

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Two Pyramids Model: Action vs Opinion


99 percent of those with radical opinions never act Many radical actors without prior radical opinions (personal and group grievance, love, fear, status) Mass radicalization of opinion a different problem than radicalization to action Deradicalization of opinion a different problem than desistence/disengagement (Horgans desistence) Psychology of attitude = War of Ideas Psychology of behavior= war against terrorists (CT)

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Lone Wolfs
- Present a challenge to the two-pyramids model - Are these cases where radical opinion directly produces radical action? - Two types of lone wolfs:
- Disconnected-disordered - Caring-compelled

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Disconnected-Disordered Lone Wolfs


- Examples: school attackers and assassins - Predominantly lone-actors - Have a grievance, weak social ties, mental health problems, experience with weapons outside of the military

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

- Feel more empathy with perceived victims - Feelings push them into violent action

Caring- Compelled Lone Wolfs

* No useful profile of individuals joining a terrorist group but these two types may be the beginnings of useful profiles for lone-wolf terrorists. What do you think? Engage on the forum.

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Implications of the Two-Pyramids Module


- There is no conveyor belt from extreme beliefs to extreme action. - Groups with extreme ideas who argue against violence may be allies in fighting terrorism. - Fighting extreme ideas is a different problem from fighting terrorists. - We do not know when or how success in the War of Ideas will reduce terrorism.

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Conclusion
- We need to study radicalization of beliefs and actions as a sequence of action and reaction in the competition between government security forces and non-state groups. - We need more databases of government responses to terrorism. - We need more research on how terrorism ends. - We need more research to understand how martyrs are constructed and deconstructed. - We need more research on political resilience.

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism

Fighting terrorism is politics


War is politics by other means Terrorism is the warfare of the weak Therefore terrorism is politics Fighting action radicalization is politics Fighting opinion radicalization is politics