CENS Seminar on “Understanding Radicalisation into Violent Extremism: The Current State of Research” by Andrew Silke
Why do people become violent extremists and terrorists? Today, this is explained primarily through the lens of radicalisation. This session will explore the history and science of radicalisation, highlighting in particular some of the important breakthroughs in our understanding of the psychology of violent extremism over the past ten years. Key psychological theories are explored with a specific focus on what social psychology tells us. The session will also illustrate that we do not have a single theory or formula for predicting or explaining the psychology of violent radicalisation, but rather have identified a combination of key drivers. This session will also explore many of the myths and dead-ends that still plague our understanding of this area, with perhaps the greatest of these myths being that ideology is the key cause of radicalisation. Assumptions and misconceptions about radicalisation can have a serious impact on the effectiveness of government policy and practice, and the talk will aim to identify the current key lessons and insights.