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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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Theorizing and Comparing Radicalization: A Relational Framework

Theorizing and Comparing Radicalization: A Relational Framework

(p.24) Chapter 2 Theorizing and Comparing Radicalization: A Relational Framework
The Dynamics of Radicalization

Eitan Y. Alimi

Chares Demetriou

Lorenzo Bosi

Oxford University Press

The chapter develops a theoretical framework of radicalization, one that is attentive to both similarities and dissimilarities in how and when the process unfolds across time and space. To this end, the chapter builds on the tenets of the relational perspective and of the associated mechanism—process comparative approach. Through a critical dialogue with other approaches to explaining and comparing radicalization, it introduces the main theoretical concepts of our theory, the most central of which are arenas of interaction, relational mechanisms, and sub-mechanisms. In doing so, the chapter develops several propositions regarding the key role of relational mechanisms (e.g., spirals of political opportunities, competition for power, outbidding) in mediating the operation and influence of other types of mechanisms. The chapter ends by presenting the model of radicalization used by the book, discussing the model’s utility for the analysis of non-radicalization processes, and exploring the potential for reversal of radicalization processes.

Keywords:   relational perspective, sub-mechanisms, arenas of interaction, political opportunities spirals, outbidding, competition for power

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