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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 :

  • 13 December 2019
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Participation of the CPRLV in a round table discussion on living together

The CPRLV participated in a round table entitled “Living together… but for who and how? Navigating Human Rights in Montreal” organized by the Centre for Civic Religious Literacy and the Canada Race Relations Foundation to exchange with community leaders, the general public, representatives of organizations and institutions, on principles of living together and solutions around […]
  • 13 December 2019
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Workshop offered at MDJ Bordeaux-Cartierville

The CPRLV offered an awareness workshop of the “What If I Was Wrong? When We Talk, We Learn!” campaign to a group of young people from the Maison de jeunes Bordeaux-Cartierville, in Montreal, with the objective of encouraging them to reflect and debate on identity prejudices and stereotypes. Thank you for the participation! For more information […]
  • 13 December 2019
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Training sessions offered in Charleroi

The CPRLV was invited to offer its “Hexagon” training, a pedagogical tool for supporting the analysis of situations of radicalization leading to violence, to different groups. They consisted of officials of the City of Charleroi, community organizations, employees working in the field of socio-professional integration of immigrants and in the I.P.P.J., police officers, psychologists, cultural, sports […]