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Explaining radicalization and political violence

studying the psychological mechanisms that lead an individual to become radicalized


This project aims to study the psychological mechanisms that lead an individual to become radicalized. We investigate the radicalization process and the proneness to join radical groups and engage in political violence by the cross-fertilization of political science and psychology. We aim to establish a causal mechanism between social exclusion and the acceptance of more radical attitudes and behaviors in an experimental setting and validate the results by the use of a text analysis of online radical forums. The use of multiple methods will provide us with an overall better understanding of the radicalization process that is both generalizable and provides in-depth understanding of this process and how it takes place. In addition, the project analyzes polarization processes in society, where the perception of ‘threat’ may impact individuals’ attitudes towards for example immigration, and their willingness to support right-wing populist alternatives. The project analyzes polarization through the use of surveys and survey experiments. The project has high societal relevance in the ongoing debate about populism, radicalization and political violence, and provides a deeper understanding of the circumstances under which individuals become radicalized, and of the circumstances under which inter-group conflict increases.

Researchers on the project

Project leader: Hanna Bäck

Project collaborator: Michael Hansen

Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences