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The Three Pillars of RadicalizationNeeds, Narratives, and Networks$
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Arie W. Kruglanski, Jocelyn J. Bélanger, and Rohan Gunaratna

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190851125

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190851125.001.0001

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Significance Quest Theory of Radicalization

Significance Quest Theory of Radicalization

(p.34) (p.35) 3 Significance Quest Theory of Radicalization
The Three Pillars of Radicalization

Arie W. Kruglanski

Jocelyn J. Bélanger

Rohan Gunaratna

Oxford University Press

This chapter proposes the 3N theory of radicalization, which happens as a result of three elements coming together: the individuals’ needs, the narrative to which they are exposed, and the networks in which they are embedded. The first N, the need element, pertains to individuals’ quest for personal significance—the desire to matter and to have respect. The second N is the (ideological) narrative to which individuals are exposed and that essentially identifies the means to the end of significance; this is portrayed as extreme violence against perceived enemies of one’s group, which lends the status of heroes and martyrs to individuals who joined the fight. The third N is the social network in which individuals are embedded and that validates the means–ends relations between violence and significance as well as dispenses status and veneration to individuals who implement the ideological injunctions and commit the requisite violence.

Keywords:   3N theory of radicalization, significance quest, violent extremism, radicalization, terrorism

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