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The Dynamics of RadicalizationA Relational and Comparative Perspective$
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Eitan Y. Alimi, Lorenzo Bosi, and Chares Demetriou

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199937707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199937707.001.0001

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Introduction: Social Movements, Contentious Politics, and Radicalization

Introduction: Social Movements, Contentious Politics, and Radicalization

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Social Movements, Contentious Politics, and Radicalization
The Dynamics of Radicalization

Eitan Y. Alimi

Chares Demetriou

Lorenzo Bosi

Oxford University Press

Why is it that despite the prevalence of extreme ideologies, profound deprivation, and aggressive impulses and motives among opposition movements worldwide, only some of the movements’ member organizations actually engage in political violence? To explore this puzzle, the chapter makes the case for the promise of asking “how” and “when” questions, rather than “why” questions. Instead of focusing on why the shift to political violence occurs, then, the focus is placed on how and when factors such as those mentioned above are activated. To be able to capture the indeterminate, conjunctural, and contingent nature of the radicalization process, the chapter points to the benefits of utilizing conceptual, theoretical, and methodological tools from the study of social movements and contentious politics. It is argued that reliance on the relational approach and the mechanism-based method allows for a nuanced understanding of processes of radicalization across diverse contentious episodes.

Keywords:   social movements, contentious politics, radicalization, mechanisms

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