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The Radicalization Process



Radicalization Leading to Violence: A Complex, Multi-dimensional Process

The process of radicalization leading to violence follows a nonlinear, non-predetermined path, shaped by multiple factors—personal and collective, social and psychological. No single element suffices, in and of itself, to explain the radicalization of an individual or group of individuals. The process is the result of the confluence of a specific personal journey and a system of beliefs justifying the use of violence, which may be exacerbated by a perceived moral threat or threat to the individual’s identity and fanned by physical and virtual social networks.
Radicalization that leads to violence rarely takes the form of a sudden or abrupt change but rather of a complex social change that operates on several different levels, as shown in the diagram below.

Social Context

On a social level, the process of radicalization may be triggered, influenced or fostered by socio-political or socio-emotional circumstances that affect the individual directly or indirectly. When faced with political, social, or economic malaise, whether real or perceived, individuals may come to question the promise of togetherness (living together) and their sense of belonging to the community.

Living Environments

Individuals who experience identity malaise or perceived injustice or marginalization may seek answers and remedies to situations they deem to be unjust or in need of redress. The degree to which protective or vulnerability factors are present in individuals’ living environments may influence their worldview and contribute to their their adoption of certain radical views legitimizing violence.

Personal Journey

For individuals undergoing indoctrination, all interpretations of the world are necessarily viewed in ideological terms with a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’, an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, and a ‘pure’ and an ‘impure’ group. Due to this progressive dichotomization of the world, such individuals come to systematically reject any competing explanations or alternative views of society. In the indoctrination process, ideology supplies justifications and explanations that encourage devotees to take part in more radical forms of action, including the active support of or participation in violent acts.
The following video provides a summary that will help you better understand the dynamics involved in radicalization leading to violence and how they are interconnected :

  • 20 November 2019
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Meeting at the KEPKAA in Montreal

Thank you to the Comité international pour la Promotion du Créole et de l’Alphabétisation (KEPKAA) for hosting the CPRLV to discuss and exchange on the prevention of of hate-motivated incidents and on the prevention of radicalization leading to violence.
  • 20 November 2019
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CPRLV training offered in Edmonton

In collaboration with its partner, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the CPRLV was invited to offer its training sessions on the “What If I Was Wrong Educator’s Guide” in Edmoton, Alberta. We thank The Resiliency Project for hosting us. If would like to receive a CPRLV training session in your workplace or if you would like to receive additional information, […]
  • 19 November 2019
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Lunch-talk on youth working against radicalization

The CPRLV presented the result of a mission carried out in Belgium, as part of a study on youth working against radicalization. This mission included work meetings between the Bureau Internationale Jeunesse (BIJ), the MOVE Association and the Maison de jeunes dans les Marolles, visits to youth associations in Molenbeek, Mechelen and Marollen to learn […]