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What sets extremists who use terrorist violence apart from those who do not?

This paper contributes on an increasing body of work on radicalisation. It specifically focuses on what distinguishes individuals whose behavioural radicalisation includes involvement in terrorist violence from those whose behavioural radicalisation does not.

Bart Schuurman, Sarah L. Carthy
06 June 2023
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In the article, Schuurman & Carthy mention that inequalitites between societal groups could be significant drivers of conflict and terrorism. Examples of such inequalities are political representation and their socioeconomic status. Anotherset of findings highlight the role that the state can play in contributing to, or exacerbating, con-ditions that can produce terrorism—for instance, by using repressive tactics that are seen asdisproportionate or applied unequally, thereby feeding into terrorist groups’ narratives about thestate’s lack of legitimacy

Their findings implicate that one should not equate involvement in terrorist attacks with radicalisation. Such a view risks obscuring the heterogeneity of these trajectories and their outcomes. The radicalisation processes and, to some extent, the biographical backgrounds of those who become involved in terrorist violence differ markedly from those who do not.

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